Major Korean studio Mediaplex has announced the $159m sale of the country's third most successful multiplex chain Megabox to a consortium, Korea Multiplex Investment Corporation (KMIC), led by Australian banking group Macquarie.

Megabox comprises a total of 19 theatres and 155 screens nationwide, with scores that follow those of top exhibitors CJ CGV and Lotte Cinema. Earlier this month, the company also opened an eight-screen multiplex in Beijing, with plans for two more in the works.

Mediaplex has contracted to advise Megabox for two years on the chain's management and operations in exchange for $10.9m and additional incentives.

In a public announcement on the stock exchange, Mediaplex stated it was making the sale with the aim to 'strengthen core content capabilities and secure new growth momentum'.

But the sale of the multiplex chain essentially has Mediaplex giving up its biggest platform for the content created by its investment and distribution arm Showbox and upstart production firm Motion 101.

The investor/distributor is currently gearing up for the Aug 1 release of sci-fi monster film D-War - which previously was budgeted at $70m and is now claiming $30m, excluding equipment and technical development costs incurred by producer Younggu Art for the effects-based film. Shot in LA, the English-language film is also set for a US debut through Freestyle Releasing this autumn.

Showbox is locked into the much-hyped and delayed release of the big-budget film, but recently pulled out of investment for Kim Jee-woon's The Good, The Bad, And The Weird, whose budget is ballooning on account of its unwieldy desert locations. Rival CJ Entertainment picked up the slack in a package deal for that film and Yim Pil-sung's Hansel And Gretel.

On this same day (July 18), Mediaplex made a separate announcement of plans to strengthen core capabilities through specialisation, and local and overseas partnerships that would further global business and increase profit. The plan also outlined securing more stable funding, and utilising resources within the conglomerate group of Orion, confectioner parent to Mediaplex.