Japanese film conglomerate SumitomoCorporation has paid a reported $48m for AMC Theatres Japan, which hascurrently five multiplexes nationwide.

Sumitomo already owns 11multiplexes across Japan through the United Cinemas exhibitor brand.

Sumitomo has numerous filminterests. It owns leading indie distributor and production company Asmik AceEntertainment together with Kadokawa Shoten Publishing and other filmbusinesses including Jupiter Entertainment, which runs a 24-hour cable TVchannels specialising in film.

Sumitomo will sell on one ofthe AMC sites, bringing its total number of multiplexes owned to 15 with 161screens.

As a result, Sumitomo will bethe third largest exhibitor in Japan following Warner Mycal Cinemas with 346screens and Toho with 343 screens. The company plans to increase the number ofits multiplex sites to 30 by 2006.

There are currently 2,825screens in operation in Japan of which 1533 are sited in the territory's 190multiplex sites.