Leading Korean multiplexchain CJ CGV plans to open a three-screen, 650-seat cinema in Los Angeles.

The cinema, which isscheduled to open in June 2007, will provide a launch pad for Korean films intothe US market by playing them day-and-date with their Koreanrelease.

Recently restructured fromits position of subsidiary to CJ Entertainment, CJ CGV is now an affiliate ofthe powerful Korean investment and distribution outfit. The LA theatredevelopment is seen to be part of parent company CJ Corp's overall plans toglobalise their entertainment business, starting with target markets in the US,Japan and China.

"This is a move inreconsideration of the US market," says CJ Entertainment vice president ofinternational sales Kini Kim. Speaking with screendaily.com,he referred to the otherwise limited possibilities for Korean films in the US at the moment.

"With individual sales, afilm has to go to one of the major studio's "Classics" divisions to get asizable release," says Kim. "Otherwise, with an independent distributor, themost you can hope for is a roadshow. Of course CJ is thinking of directdistribution, since it could cover the niche market and even branch into themainstream."

Detailed plans forsimultaneous release and distribution are expected to be announced later in theyear.

CJ CGV's LA branch will befully funded out of Korea and will screen mainly Korean releases, but willalso include other Asian films in its programme.

The CJ CGV statementspecified their target audience will not be limited to the one million people ofKorean descent living in Los Angeles, but are targeting the mainstream American audience as well, making useof "the theatre-management know-how acquired over several years at home tobranch out overseas."

The cinema is to take up twofloors of the multi-entertainment center Madang, a.k.a. The Courtyard, inKoreatown. Construction is to begin in October.