Mexico is home to two of the world’s largest cinema multinationals

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Jun 142014

The Mexican business press consistently describes Mexico’s movie-going industry as being divided between two major players: Cinépolis, the fourth largest cinema chain in the world, and Cinemex, now the world’s sixth largest cinema company. It should be noted that their world rankings lack independent verification.


cinepolis-logoCinépolis (“City of Cinema”) has 2456 screens in Mexico, giving it a 48% share of the domestic market. The chain consists of 205 theaters in 65 cities in Mexico, and more than 230 movie theaters and 3,000 screens worldwide, with a presence in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, India and the USA. It is Latin America’s largest movie theater chain.

The company began in 1947 in Morelia, Michoacán, as “Cine Morelos”. Rebranded several times, the company began expansion by opening theaters in nearby Salamanca, Acámbaro and Guanajuato, before entering the Mexico City market in the early 1970s. The brandname Cinépolis was first used in the mid 1990s, spawning the up-market Cinépolis VIP brand (luxury cinema with reclinable seats and service), in 1999.

Cinépolis extended its operations outside Mexico, first to capital cities in several Central American countries, including Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama, and is now expanding into South America.

Cinepolis has also entered the lucrative Indian market, with mid-term plans to operate 500 screens in that country.


cinemex-logoCinemex, after its recent acquisition of smaller competitor Cinemark, has a 42% share of the domestic market.

Cinemex has a total of 2,359 screens in 264 locations across Mexico, an astonishing increase from the 44 locations it had in 2007, and now serves 78 million moviegoers a year.

Cinemex started with a college business plan focused on the provision of larger movie theaters. The first Cinemex theaters were opened in Mexico City in 1995. Within a few years, the chain had added cineplexes in Guadalajara, Monterrey, Toluca, Cuernavaca and Puebla. In 2013, it opened Mexico’s X4D theater, in Santa Fe, Mexico City.

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Mexico’s multinationals: KidZania and its child-sized cities

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May 152014

KidZania is one of Mexico’s more unusual multinational corporations. It is a Mexican-owned chain of family entertainment centers, aimed at children aged 4 to 14. Each KidZania location is a child-sized replica of a real city, complete with buildings, paved streets, shops, vehicles and pedestrians. All buildings are scaled to be two-thirds their real-life size.

kidzania-logoChildren enter the city (usually via an airport-like setting) and then engage in role-play jobs in such branded activities as bottling Coca-Cola, serving at a McDonald’s restaurant or working in a Crest-sponsored dentist’s office. Others undertake the roles of firemen, doctors, police officers, journalists and shopkeepers, etc. “Workers” earn kidZos (local currency) to spend on entertainment, at the gift shop, or for premium KidZania activities. Each KidZania offers about 100 role-playing activities in 60 or so distinct establishments.

Between them, KidZania centers attract more than 4 million young visitors a year. This Youtube promotional video – KidZania Global Overview 2013 – provides a good introduction.

Alternatively, the 5-minute video below, from PBS’s American Milestones, describes how KidZania works, with particular emphasis on its claimed educational value:

The Mexican entrepreneur behind KidZania is CEO Xavier López Ancona. The first KidZania (later renamed La Ciudad de los Niños – The City of the Children) opened in September 1999 in Santa Fe Shopping Mall in Mexico City. Two more locations have since opened in Mexico: Monterrey, in northern Mexico, and Cuiculco, in the southern part of the Federal District.

The first KidZania outside Mexico opened as a franchise in Tokyo, Japan, in 2006. Since then KidZania has opened centers in:

  • Jakarta, Indonesia (2007)
  • Koshien, Japan (2009)
  • Lisbon, Portugal (2009)
  • Dubai (2010)
  • Seoul, South Korea (2010)
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2012)
  • Santiago, Chile (2012)
  • Bangkok, Thailand (2013)
  • Mumbai, India (2013)
  • Kuwait (2013)
  • Cairo, Egypt (2013)
  • Istanbul, Turkey (2014)
  • London, U.K. (2015)

The chain is still expanding, with plans to establish new centers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; São Paulo, Brazil; Singapore; Moscow, Russia; Manila, Philippines; Doha, Qatar;  and Chicago, USA.

Each park represents an initial investment of between 20 and 30 million dollars. Sponsors of KidZania activities vary by location and include (or have included) American Airlines, Coca Cola, Domino’s Pizza, Kellogg’s, Walmart, Danone, Mitsubishi, Honda, HSBC, Johnson & Johnson, Nestlé and Sony.

KidZania has won several major awards, including one as the World’s Top Family Entertainment Center by IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions).

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