The Brazilian cinema exhibition sector will receive boost with 50 new shopping malls, which are expected to be open from now to the end of 2012.

As malls in the country usually have an average of five screens each, it will mean approximately 250 more screens, which represents an increase of 11%.

The overall number of cinema screens in Brazil today is 2.257 (with 656 cinemas) — according to Filme B (a local film company that reviews theatrical market numbers).

In Brazil, the exhibitor sector is highly dependent on the development of the shopping centre industry. Besides the fact that the cinemas in malls are safer, the local exhibitors prefer to share the high costs of infrastructure with the malls.

According to figures released by the Brazilian Association of Shopping Centers (Abrasce), 15 malls will be opened by the end of the year and 35 more malls are scheduled to inaugurate throughout 2012. “If 250 new screens are open, the increase will be significant, reaching more than 2.500. But is still below the target set by Ancine (National Cinema Agency), of 3.000 screens,” says Pedro Butcher, editor of Filme B.

Most of the new malls will be opened in midsize cities or suburbs of big cities, due to the growth of the middle class in the country. The economic boom and government social security programs in recent years has increased purchase power of the lower classes, that now can afford to go the movies.

According to Butcher, Brazil will only achieve a satisfactory number of screens when cinemas began to be opened outside shopping malls. “But there are no investors for that.’’ Another problem is how many cinemas will close in the coming years. “We still don’t know the number yet. But there will be a drop due to the renovation and modernization that the exhibition sector requires. In Brazil, between 40% and 50% of the movie theatres are still old cinemas, with one screen only.’’