SPI Cinemas, Chennai's premier multiplex popularly known as Sathyam Cinemas, is considered to be one of the best in the country. SPI Cinemas has five properties and 36 screens in Chennai including Sathyam, Escape, Palazzo, S2 Theyagaraja, and S2 Perambur with a total of 8,342 seats. It operates another brand in Coimbatore called The Cinema which has 1,561 seats.
Now Chennai’s largest multiplex chain, will be stepping into the Mumbai market by taking over Globus Cinema, an existing single screen in a mall in Bandra, which belongs to the Raheja Group.
As per sources the deal with Globus Cinema is that SPI Cinemas will take it over and run it for a nine-year lease. The 259 seater single screen will now be called Le-Reve (the dream) and it will be state of art with 4K projection and Dolby Atmos. The theatre is all set to open this Diwali.
SPI Cinemas wanted to expand outside of Tamil Nadu, where their growth was stifled due to certain issues which had nothing to do with the running of cinemas. Tamil Nadu, over the years, had government control over admission rates and multiplexes could not charge above Rs 120 per ticket.
SPI Cinemas found it difficult to enter Mumbai multiplex market controlled mainly by the leader PVR Cinemas and INOX. So SPI took the lease model to enter the prime Mumbai market by taking over the Globus Cinema.
Swaroop Reddy, one of the Directors of SPI Cinemas, told Firstpost, “ We are looking at expanding outside of Chennai. And when the offer to lease Globus cinemas, a single screen theatre, in Bandra came, we thought it would be a good idea to make our presence in the Mumbai market. At Le-Reve, we will be providing state of art comfort and cinema experience through affordable ticket pricing. Our programming will be mix and blend mainly regional Hindi and Marathi films. We will be running our own concessions (canteen), as people in Chennai know about the quality of food and beverages we sell.”
Market sources say that SPI Cinemas is on an expansion mode and is hunting for more properties in Mumbai. Down south, SPI Cinemas will be operating from November first week in Kerala, as well.
Thiruvananthapuram’s iconic single screen Kripa owned by Muthoot Fin Corp, has been renovated and converted to two screens. And under The Cinema’s label their 5-screen multiplex in the union territory of Pondichery, will commence operations by Christmas this year.
The group has already commenced work on a five–screen multiplex coming up in a new mall in Bengaluru, which will start operating sometime next year. They have also signed up to operate multiplexes with malls coming up in Hyderabad and Warangal in the state of Telengana.
Further, they have promised to invest Rs 500 Crore with Chandrababu Naidu government in Andhra Pradesh for operating multiplex and IMAX screens in key cities in the state.
Multiplex market analysts believe that SPI Cinemas is on the right track by expanding outside their Chennai domain. The brand has potential to emerge as one of the biggest players in the multiplex industry. By 2020, they would have more than 150 screens, mostly in the lucrative south market. There is no business like show business.