Village Cinemas opened anine-screen, 1.800 stadium-seating complex this weekin one of the fast-growing districts of Buenos Aires.
This $ 14m investment -incooperation with the development group Galerias Pacifico- is the seventh multiplex Village to have been builtin Argentina since 1996. The company now operates 78 screens in the country.
"We expect 1 millionadmissions a year in the new Village Caballito,"says Sebastian Valenzuela, Village's general manager.
Village is thesecond-biggest exhibition loop with a 20% share of the local market, after Hoyts General Cinemas (29%), and ahead of Cinemark (17%) and National Amusements' Showcase (12%).
Last month, two U.S.investment funds, Southern Screens Entertainment II and Blue Ridge, have boughtthe exhibition chain from Australia's Village Cinemas Intl. and New Zealand'sSky City Cinemas, and now own 78% and 22%, respectively.
With the Argentineaneconomy recovering robustly from the 2002 economic crisis (9% in 2003, 8,4% in 2004 and an estimated 9% in 2005) exhibitors arereviving investment plans.
Argentina is considered agrowing market. Film attendance rose more than 50% in the last two years andthe country has only 1000 screens for a populationof 37 million people.
During 2005, Showcaseopened a 14-screen multiplex comprising more than 3,500 seats in Rosario,Argentina's third city, and is planning to build the first IMAX 3D theatre in anew 14- screener near Buenos Aires next year.
Cinemark also opened a 5-screen complex this yearin the western outskirts of Buenos Aires and is eyeing more locations.
Pablo Bossi,general manager of local leading producer company PatagonikFilm Group, announced the opening of an eight-screen arthousein the exclusive neighbourhood of Palermo, while the 12-screen, 3.300 seater Portal Rosario -another local project- is scheduledto open in the next few weeks.