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Conquering European cinema
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Israeli company conquers European cinemas
Israel Theaters Ltd becomes third largest in Europe and while management remains Israeli, local talent makes sure cinemas are tailor made

Israeli owned cinemaplexes are taking Europe by storm. The Israel Theaters Ltd chain is the third largest in Europe.

 

Each complex is characterized by similar motifs, the same ceilings with neon red lights – just like the ones in Israel's Yes Planet cinemaplexes.

 

The management is uniform as well: The managers are all Israelis who make the 'commute' every two weeks to oversea the operations. The only local talent comes from each division manager but they each have their own secrets to success.

 

"Hungary's division manager tells me that their secret to success is popcorn made with coconut oil, it's quite a hit," says Muki Greidinger, 59, one of the owners of Israel Theaters.

 

"The Hungarians love premiers, so we have lots of them, with many celebrities… In Poland, size and kick are what matters. We have 31 theaters there and 5 Imax theaters."

 

Other secrets include a colorful candy stall and lady's nights as well as a very special guest, "we have Roman Polanski at every serious premier."

 

The chain operates in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia. Israel Theater's Ltd (945 screens) is in third place after Odeon-UCI (2,153 screens) and France's Gaumont Pathe (967 screens).

 

Greidinger says a merger with a western European company is possible, as is moving up to second place in the theater rankings.

 

Oddly enough, Israel Theaters Ltd's European chain is called "Cinema City"; the name was given long before the Cinema City complexes - owned by Israel Theaters' biggest rival - were launched in Israel.

 

The Greidingers who founded Rav Chen Theaters and Yes Planet never thought to register Cinema City as a trademark in Israel and so, their local rivals chose to use the name in Israel.

 

"We were wrong in thinking that like Odeon in England, Rav Chen was an Israeli brand name and it shouldn't be changed," says Greidinger. "I'm not angry. In business you don't get angry. Will it help anyone? I love the (Yes) Planet name."

 

How many theaters does Israel Theaters Ltd have outside of Israel? 31 in Poland, 20 in Hungary, 13 in Romania, 13 in the Czech Republic, five in Bulgaria and three in Slovakia.

 

 


First published: 07.26.12, 07:28
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