For someone so inextricably linked to the film business, Javier Sotomayor manages to catch just three movies each month. In fact, the last one he watched was the Leonardo DiCaprio-starrer The Revenant early March at his 14-screen megaplex in Thane, near suburban Mumbai. Most of the films he does watch are on DVD, that too when he gets a breather from work. After all, the 44-year-old is busy trying to take his company Cinépolis India from 226 screens currently to 400 by next year. Headquartered at Morelia city in Mexico, the global megaplex player appointed Sotomayor as its India MD in 2013. With its acquisition of Essel Group’s 83-screen strong Fun Cinemas multiplex chain for Rs.550 crore in January last year, Cinépolis today is the fourth largest player in India’s growing film exhibition industry. This buyout also gave Cinépolis a foothold in the key Delhi market and a presence in smaller centres such as Ambala, Coimbatore, Dibrugarh and Ranchi.
“Our four-screen property in Delhi’s Unity Mall, eight-screen one in Pune and five-screen multiplex in Bengaluru will all be ready in a month or two. By the middle of next year, another 80 screens across 12 cities will be added, taking our total to 306. These are properties where the interiors are still under construction, but the work is under control,” says Devang Sampat, head, strategic initiatives, Cinépolis. According to Sampat, responsibility for newer projects — like the one in Chennai, where a deal has just been signed — has been left to the respective mall developers. Among the new properties are ten screens in Hyderabad, four to six in Guwahati, four in Kolkata, eight to 10 in Ghaziabad and 10 in Mohali. “We will also look at acquisitions during this period of expansion. That being said, it is more important for us to zero in on the right property and location instead of just chasing numbers,” Sotomayor explains.
Globally, Cinépolis is known for its megaplexes and the brand holds a position of promine