The 10 Largest Movie Theater Chains In The World

By Chris Kolmar
Aug. 17, 2022
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Largest Movie Theather Chains Research Summary

  • The largest movie theater chain in the world is AMC, with a revenue of $2.53 billion and over 11,000 screens.

  • As of 2022, the global movie theater industry has a market size of $8.2 billion.

  • There are over 208,000 movie theater screens around the world.

  • The movie theater industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of 4.7% through 2028.

Since their invention, movies have been a favorite pastime of audiences all across the world. And while technology and the film-watching experience have come a long way since the days of Thomas Edison, theaters still exist as one of the best ways to consume movies.

The dark ambiance, the giant screen, the booming sound, and the sticky floors are unmatched for creating an environment where you can escape into a new world.

However, recent (and very recent) developments have put the future of movie theaters in jeopardy. We all know that streaming giants like Netflix and Hulu have been shaping the world of movie-watching for some time now, rivaling theaters in being able to offer brand new films from the comfort of one’s own home.

The COVID-19 pandemic also affected theaters in an unprecedented way in 2020 and into 2021. Most theater chains had to close all theater sites for public safety concerns temporarily and, unlike other temporarily closed establishments like restaurants, had little else to offer in terms of “curbside” or “carryout” options.

Though some chains adapted with features such as drive-in movies, every theater chain was greatly affected in some way by the complete closure of most sites. However, as the world begins to open up again, movie theaters are starting to see a boost in attendance from those who are sick of being stuck at home.

Despite the significant challenges, some companies are still driving growth within this industry. This article will discuss the ten largest movie theater chains in the world by the total number of screens.

movie theaters in the world

10 Largest Movie Theater Chains Worldwide

  1. AMC. Leawood, Kansas, United States.

    Total Number of Screens: 11,041
    2021 Annual Revenue: $2.53 billion

    The first entry on our list, and longtime frontrunner, is the American AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. Founded in 1920, this seasoned company is well known for serving the public with over 1,000 theater sites worldwide in both the United States and Europe.

    The Durwood family founded the company and currently names Chinese Billionaire Wang Jianlin as its largest shareholder. Founded in 1920 in Kansas City, AMC prided itself on being the first among many great aspects of moviegoing.

    AMC is the first multiplex (movie theater that features multiple screens) and is the first theater chain to introduce the addition of cupholders to their armrests in 1981, allowing patrons to sip on their carbonated beverages as they watched their favorite feature.

    Like all movie theaters, AMC took a significant hit in profits during the COVID-19 pandemic, cutting down drastically from the pre-covid earnings of around $5.5 billion yearly. However, the company appears to be recovering from this dip and maintaining its power within the industry. Globally, the corporation employs over 40,000 individuals.

  2. Wanda Cinemas. Beijing, China.

    Total Number of Screens: 1,657
    2021 Annual Revenue: $1.85 billion

    Finally, ending our top ten list is our first Chinese and second Asian movie theater chain, Wanda Cinemas. The company was founded in 2005 and is owned by Wang Jianlin and the Dalian Wanda Group. Wanda Cinemas has 187 cinemas across China.

  3. Cineworld. London, England, United Kingdom.

    Total Number of Screens: 9,500
    2021 Annual Revenue: $1.8 billion

    At number two is our first British entry on this list, the public limited company Cineworld. Cineworld maintains around 790 theater sites across ten countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Ireland, Israel, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic.

    Until 2012, Cineworld was the only movie theater in the UK that upheld a strict “no food or drink” policy until they unveiled a trail of their innovative “premier service,” offering guests leather seating, hot food, and table service.

    Profit margins in 2020 were down for Cineworld, and it earned around £852.3 million that year in total revenue, which represents a significant decrease.

    Still, this company, founded in 1995, continues to seek new strategies for recovering lost business. The Israeli-based Greidinger family represents the largest shareholder of this company.

  4. Cinemark. Plano, Texas, United States.

    Total Number of Screens: 5,957
    2021 Annual Revenue: $1.51 billion

    Our final American-based company on this list is the Texan Cinemark Theatres. Cinemark was founded in 1961 and currently operates out of 525 sites in North America, South America, and Taiwan. Cinemark is, notably, the largest movie theater chain in Brazil.

    In a controversial political move in 2008, Cinemark CEO Alan Stock donated $9,999 toward the successful passage of the contentious California bill proposition 8. This initiative restricted the rights of same-sex marriages in California, this prompting a general boycott of the theater to the bill’s opponents.

    Cinemark employs nearly 20,000 full-time and part-time employees. Due to the temporary closure of all Cinemark theaters worldwide in 2020, this company has also seen some plunging profits in recent years.

    Pre-COVID-19, the typical annual revenue for this company hovered around $4.644 billion, and Cinemark is looking into strategies for regaining lost profits.

  5. Cinépolis. Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico.

    Total Number of Screens: 5,251
    2020 Annual Revenue:$ 1.51 billion

    Rounding out our top five list is the largest Mexican movie theater chain, Cinepolis. Founded in 1971 by Enrique Ramírez Villalón, this company operates out of 335 theater sites across a wide range of countries, including Guatemala, England, Colombia, Spain, India, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and more.

    Cinepolis currently employs over 27,000 workers as the largest chain in Latin America and possesses a global presence. The theater chain is known for its innovative “luxury cinemas” for VIP customers.

  6. Regal Cinemas. Knoxville, Tennessee, United States.

    Total Number of Screens: 7,200
    2021 Annual Revenue: $627.4 million

    Regal Cinemas (not to be confused with the historic Regal Cinema in Mumbai, India) is the second-largest American movie theater chain and the third-largest worldwide.

    Formerly known as Regal Entertainment Group (again, not to be confused with the Filipino film production company Regal Entertainment), the company rebranded itself during the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic.

    During that time, Regal Cinemas was acquired by our number two entry on this list, Cineworld. Still, the company operates enough independent theaters to land a high spot on this list. Regal Cinemas employs approximately 26,000 full-time and part-time employees and operates out of 549 sites.

    On January 7th of 2020, Regal Cinemas announced their partnership with PepsiCo, granting the company rights to be their number one supplier of all non-alcoholic beverages. This was a big move, as it broke the monopoly held by Coke and their supply to the top three largest movie chains in the world. Mountain Dew fans, rejoice!

  7. Cineplex Entertainment. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    Total Number of Screens: 1,676
    2021 Annual Revenue: $515.22 million

    Cineplex Entertainment is our first and only Canadian entry on this list. The company has a storied history dating back to 1912, where it began with the Famous Players Film Corporation. The present company was officially founded in 1999 and currently operates all across Canada.

    Cineplex is a large company with over 13,000 employees and a total of 164 theater sites. The company had a pre-COVID-19 annual revenue of around $1.655 million CAD. Recently Cineplex has branched out into offering arcades, restaurants, and even virtual reality centers.

  8. Vue. London, England, United Kingdom.

    Total Number of Screens: 1,989
    2019 Annual Revenue: $3.6 million

    At number eight on our list is the second largest British theater chain, Vue International. The company was founded in 1999 by Timothy Richards. Vue operates out of nine countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Taiwan, with 225 sites worldwide.

    The company employs nearly 4,000 individuals and offers a wide array of stadium seating auditoriums.

  9. CGV. Seoul, South Korea.

    Total Number of Screens: 3,459
    2021 Annual Revenue: N/A

    Our first Asian-headquartered company on the list, CGV is a South Korean chain of movie theaters with 455 locations in countries such as China, Turkey, Vietnam, the United States, and more.

    The company was founded in 1996 by three distinct film companies: CJ Corporation, Golden Harvest, and Village Roadshow (thus, the acronym CGV).

    In total, CGV has around 1,790 employees in seven countries across the globe. The company is notable for its innovative multiplex theaters. It offers a chance to see some of the best Asian films not widely available in other theaters for American audiences.

  10. Cinemex. Mexico City, Mexico.

    Total Number of Screens: 2,861
    2021 Annual Revenue: N/A

    Cinemex is the second largest chain of cinemas in Mexico, operating across Mexican cities such as Guadalajara, Tijuana, Monterrey, and Mexico City. Cinemex was founded in 1993, and it currently maintains an ongoing competition with Mexican movie theater giant Cinepolis.

    Unlike previous entries on our list, these movie theaters largely exist only within the country they operate out of. However, in 2015, Cinemex opened its first luxury cinema in Miami, Florida.

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Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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