The nation’s third-largest movie theater chain is entering the Valley with the opening of a 16-screen theater at the highly anticipated Mesa Riverview development.
Plano, Texas,-based Cinemark USA already has two theaters in Arizona, in Sierra Vista and Kingman, and is planning a slow expansion in the Valley, said Valerie Shortall, marketing manager. The Mesa Riverview theater opens Friday at Dobson Road and Loop 202.
“We are looking forward to being a member of the Mesa neighborhood,” Alan Stock, Cinemark’s president, said in a statement.
Cinemark is behind only Regal Entertainment Group and AMC Theaters in size. It has 314 theaters with 3,409 screens in 34 states, and internationally in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Peru, Panama and Taiwan.
“We actually do have a site in Gilbert that we’re looking at for 2007,” Shortall said. “The site is in the new Main Street Commons. Our real estate department does extensive research on where we want to put theaters. This is a great market, the people are wonderful and we’ve been accepted with open arms.”
Main Street Commons is a 540,000-square-foot lifestyle center scheduled to open next spring at the southeast corner of Val Vista Drive and Pecos Road in Gilbert.
Cinemark is joining a moviegoing market dominated by Scottsdalebased Harkins Theatres and AMC. Regal has two theaters in Scottsdale, while Portland, Ore.,-based Wallace Theaters has a theater in Gilbert.
Cinemark was established in 1984 and has grown steadily through a combination of acquisitions in its early years and then aggressive development of new theaters in subsequent years.
“We look for sites all over the United States and this particular development happened to be a perfect fit for us,” Shortall said. “The growth here is very exciting for us because it lends the opportunity for us to come in and show people who Cinemark is and how great our theaters are. We’re a family friendly theater.”
During the first quarter of this year, Cinemark opened five new theaters with 49 screens. As of March 31, the company has signed commitments to open 16 more theaters with 187 screens by the end of this year, followed by eight new theaters with 94 screens beyond this year.
“We’re the dominant theater chain in Texas, and we have several theaters in Ohio and in Salt Lake City,” Shortall said. “We’re mainly in the South and the Southwest, but we have theaters also in the Northeast and Northwest.”
Cinemark is constantly on the lookout for new markets in which to locate theaters, she said. “We don’t expand in a particular direction across the country,” she said. “We just look at specific sites and cities where theaters are needed.”