Cinemax multiplex chain, which has 22 plexes and 65 screens in its fold at the moment, has signed up for another 300 screens by 2012.

This would involve an investment of Rs 500 crore embracing around 100 properties. Interestingly, Cinemax will throw open three properties in Kolkata between the close of 2008 and 2009.

"For the last few years, we have followed a 'clutter' approach and concentrated largely on Mumbai. Half the existing 22 plexes are based in Mumbai. One of the reasons is that our core competency is real estate and these properties are located in Mumbai. This reasons for our initial multiplexes in Mumbai being self-owned. Also, the movie industry is huge in this city. But now we are going pan-India with gusto," says, Devang Sampat, senior vice-president, Cinemax.

At the moment, with its prime hub in Mumbai, the Cinemax chain dots Gujarat, Nasik, Nagpur, Panipat, Faridabad and Guwahati. The latest thrust on expansion will see us cutting across the country and adding on new centres like New Delhi, Pune, Hyderabad, Kochi and Bangalore among other locales.

One of the principal reasons for spreading its wings is the visible rise in the slate of films being produced. This has been spurred by the entry of corporate labels into the field, which in turn, has pushed up the supply of movies.

"Thus, one needs more outlets to cater to the increased flow of films. Besides, the arrival of corporates in the production scene has shored up the content and quality of films where multiplexes are a more suitable window," Sampat said.

Kolkata will kick off in December 2008 with a property in Salt Lake which will house three Cinemax screens and one Imax format. The Imax screen has, of course, been put up by the Delhi-based AerenR, a licencee of Imax.

According to Sampat, the company has invested about Rs 10 crore in fitting out the three Cinemax screens. A second 2-screen cineplex is again planned in Salt Lake and is slated to crystallise sometime in 2009.