In the last five years, 25% was growth registered in the number of people who attended the cinema, and new investments in more screen rooms are planned for 2017.
Projections for the end of the year are that over 6 million people will have visited the cinema, thanks to the opening of new rooms, explained Michael Joseph, CEO of United International Pictures (UIP), to Martesfinanciero.com.
A proposal has been made to amend the legislation to improve incentives and increase the number of international producers who choose the country as a location for their films.
A the moment, Law 16 of April 27, 2012 is in effect, which was enacted in order to promote the production of local and international cinema in the country. Data from Anpanama.com indicates that in recent years more than 50 films have been produced, which have generated revenues of around $20 million. The proposal now is to improve incentives, offering "... a return of 15% of the budget to those productions that exceed US $3 million."
The chain Cinepolis plans to open four new theaters in 2015 in Guatemala, one in Honduras, two in Panama and 30 new screens at a shopping center in Costa Rica.
Parallel to this expansion plan in the region, representatives from the Mexican chain Cinepolis said they are evaluating whether to make new investments in El Salvador, where they already have a 43% share in the cinema market.
Efforts are being made to amend legislation and increase incentives in order to attract an activity which in the past year and a half generated $30 million in the development of 80 film projects.
The Minister of Commerce and Industry of Panama told Laestrella.com.pa that with the plan to update existing legislation "...The idea is to adapt the law to best international practices not only to encourage more local productions of the best possible quality, but also motivate international productions to chose Panama as their place to make films. "
The Costa Rican chain CitiCinemas has acquired ten theaters from its competitor CCM Cinemas and says it will invest $3.5 million in renovations.
With the transfer of the operation of 10 cinemas to the company CitiCinemas "... the Local cinema industry is more competitive than ever. CCM Cinemas is now tied, in terms of the number of screens, with the Mexican company Cinepolis (29), CitiCinemas ranks second (17), Cinemark is in third place (16) and Nova Cinemas in the fourth with 7."
Four companies have announced the investment of at least $14 million in the opening of 31 new cinemas during 2015.
The expansion of existing facilities and opening of new ones in different parts of the country is in response to the steady increase in cinema going as in 2013 alone 6 million people attended movie theaters in the country, representing an increase of 15% compared to number of tickets sold in 2011.
In the first call for a Film Fund tender, which will fund the winning productions with more than two million dollars, 52 Panamanian projects qualified.
A statement from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry reads:
MICI TO FINANCE BEST PANAMANIAN PRODUCTIONS THROUGH FILM FUND CONTEST
52 Panamanian projects have qualified in the first call for the Film Fund Contest, which will fund the winning productions with more than two million dollars, announced the Minister of Trade and Industry, Ricardo Quijano.
Incentives contained in a new law for foreign producers to make their films in Panama has attracted the interest of The Walt Disney Company.
An article in Panamaamerica.com reports that "Representatives from the Walt Disney film company will be visiting in Panama, in order to evaluate possible investments in this industry, following the entry into force of a Law on cinema."
Cinépolis is to build a 5 screen cinema in Metrocentro Santa Ana with an investment of $1.5 million.
The company will erect its third Cinépoliscinema complex in El Salvador, which has 5 screens and 3D digital format at a cost of $1.5 million, making Cinépolis’ total investment in the country $11 million.