1 The Role of Multiplex Cinemas

 1.1 Introduction
The development in several European countries of multiplex cinemas, defined here as purpose-built multi-screen cinema complexes with at least 8 screens, has led to mixed reactions from the public on the one hand and from the exhibition sector on the other. Undoubtedly this development has been the most fundamental change in the exhibition sector for decades, and comes after a long period of decline in cinema-going in all European countries. Furthermore, the growth of multiplexes has been faster and more extensive in some countries then in others. For example, multiplex penetration in the UK is approximately five times that in Germany or Spain.
For the European exhibition industry it is important to understand fully the phenomenon of multiplexes in all its implications. It is also crucial to realise how far the introduction of multiplexes is likely to go and whether they can be expected to be introduced on a more comprehensive scale throughout Europe.
This paper draws on existing studies and original research on multiplexes to reach a comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon.

Main findings

1 screen
2 screens
3-5 screens
6 & 7 screens
8+ screens
Seat utilisation
  Whilst our economic analysis leaves no doubt that the multiplex phenomenon will spread throughout Europe there are several voices of reason that point to more cautious conclusions. There can be no doubt, however, that multiplex cinemas will lead to a more modern exhibition sector in those countries where modernisation of cinemas has not yet happened. It is only through the offer of a high quality cinema experience that cinema-going in Europe can be revived. Multiplexes are key to that development, but they are a threat to many independent single screen cinemas who do not, or cannot, upgrade their facilities.