UAE-based malls and retail firm Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) has announced plans to double its cinema footprint through a Dhs1.2bn ($326.6m) investment.
Under the plans, VOX Cinemas will grow through acquisitions, organic expansion and investment in customer experience, according to the firm.
MAF said it had secured 23 new locations for VOX that will open progressively over the next three years, including 16 with 145 screens in 2018.
The company opened cinemas the Mall of Egypt in March and Qatar in April with others to follow in Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE over the next six months.
VOX Cinemas is expected to double its screen count from 300 to 600 by 2020.
“We are continuing to extend our unique offering to more movie lovers by doubling our screen count to over 600 across seven countries in the Middle East, creating more than 1,500 new jobs across the region by 2020,” said MAF Cinemas CEO Cameron Mitchell.
Mitchell said the company had expanded its customer base by 50 per cent in the last 12 months and was expecting to end the year with 18 million visitors following the opening of new locations on at Majid Al Futtaim’s City Centres Sharjah, Al Zahia (UAE) and Sohar (Oman), in Al Ain and on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah.
The company also recently expanded its film distribution interests through a partnership with Twentieth Century Fox Film and is reviewing opportunities for 2018.
VOX is also investing in customer analytics, with online ticket sales expected to expand 50 per cent annually and recently launched a customer loyalty programme.