Mexico-based movie theatre circuit Cinepolis is set to become the first international exhibitor to enter the Indian market independently.

The company plans to open approximately 500 screens over the next seven years through wholly-owned subsidiary Cinepolis India.

So far Cinepolis has identified 110 screens across eight cities with operations expected to start in the latter half of this year. The strategy is to build megaplex facilities with double-digit numbers of screens per site at most of the locations.

“We have made a substantial commitment to India and are excited at the prospects of being in a country which is the highest producer and consumer of filmed entertainment. We envision ourselves to be present in India for the long-term and for India to become our largest international expansion project,” said Javier Sotomayor, Cinepolis strategy head.

Currently operating more than 2,000 screens in six countries, Cinepolis claims to be the fifth largest theatre circuit in the world. In Mexico, it has a 46% share of screens and 56% share of the box office.

The 38 year-old company pioneered the concept of the luxury cinema brand and introduced multiplexes and megaplexes as well as IMAX and Real-D in Latin America. Cinepolis focuses on pure-play exhibition, high standards in theatre design, innovation, scale of business and operational strength.