UAE-based Grand Cinemas plans to double its number of cinema screens in the GCC as part of a US$30m expansion plan, its CEO has said.
The firm will open new cinemas in the UAE and Qatar and plans to launch its first movie theatre in eastern European nation Georgia as it looks to grow its customers by up to 50 percent, Jean Ramia told Arabian Business.
“At the moment we have 108 screens… in about two years’ time with the signed projects and others in the pipeline, we are going to reach 201 to 207,” he said.
The new cinemas will be funded through a mixture of cash and debt, he added. “It’s going to be partially financed…The average cost of a 12-screen [cinema] is US$8 to US$12m, depending on the seats and everything.”
The cinema chain, which also distributes films throughout the UAE via its parent company Gulf Film, will open three new cinemas in Abu Dhabi, three in Qatar and another in Dubai’s Dragon Mart. Two cinemas will be located outside of the GCC, said Ramia.
Grand Cinemas recently invested US$50,000 to US$80,000 on rebranding its corporate identity amid increased competition in the UAE. Dubai-based developer Emaar Properties launched its own chain of cinemas, Reel Cinemas, in 2009 while Majid Al Futtaim Group acquired CineStar Cinemas - now known as Vox Cinemas - in 2010.
Grand Cinemas, which claims to have a 52 percent market share in the UAE, said it will also look to expand its Grand Class cinemas and introduce the country’s first in-dining cinema experience.
“In our new cinemas in Yas Marina Mall [Abu Dhabi] we are doing the first in-dining concept in the cinemas. [We will offer] a proper seated dinner in the cinema for the balconies,” said Ramia.
Screens at Dragon Mart will also show Chinese movies in addition to mainstream English films, he added. “We will be showing the same movies but add to it different movies, like movies from China, targeting the nationalities that surround International City.