CJ-CGV Wants to Keep Growing Its Chains

Sonia Kil
Variety

First a bit of history.

Theater chain CGV started in 1996 as a joint venture among South Korea’s CheilJedang, Hong Kong’s Golden Harvest, and Australia’s Village Roadshow and opened the country’s first multiplex in 1998. After buying out its two foreign partners it merged with CG Golden Village and changed its name to CG-CGV.

As part of its growth, the company has pushed an aggressive international expansion plan, which has taken it into China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, Turkey, and the U.S.

CJ-CGV was also the first Korean company to start the exhibition business in China. Since it opened its first multiplex in Shanghai in 2006, the company has grown to operate 74 multiplexes and 586 screens. Also, its Chinese business turned profitable for the first time last year with a profit of $3.87 million.

CJ-CGV is now the leading cinema operator in Vietnam, where it grew through acquisition of local market leader Megastar, for $73.4 million in 2011.

In 2015, CJ-CGV stated an ambitious goal of operating 10,000 screens worldwide by 2020. Following the bold statement was acquisition of Mars Entertainment, the largest movie chain in Turkey, in April. The deal was worth $687 million and CJ-CGV acquired a 38.12% stake. The company owns 86 multiplexes and 761 screens in Turkey.

“In terms of the number of the screens worldwide, we have outstripped Odeon, the largest cinema operator in Europe, by acquiring Mars,” CJ-CGV stated. The exhibitor is the world’s fifth-largest cinema operator.

In Indonesia, CJ-CGV has been a partner of Blitz Megaplex since 2014 and rebranded it to CGV Blitz in 2015. The company operates 22 multiplexes and 157 screens, aiming to expand it to 80 multiplexes and 600 screens by 2020.

The company’s toehold is still small in the U.S., where it owns three screens in Los Angeles’ Koreatown. At a press conference last year, however, CJ-CGV CEO Seo Jung said CJ-CGV would take over cinema chains in the U.S. and was searching for companies in which to invest.

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