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A typical AMC Theatres megaplex. A typical AMC Theatres megaplex.

A megaplex is a movie theater complex with many screens. Definitions vary (the lower limit may be 12, 16, or 20); a theater with fewer screens is referred to as a multiplex. Megaplex theaters generally feature more than 20 screens (some more than 30), with stadium seating and other amenities often not found at smaller movie theaters.

For several years the world's largest theater was the 18 screen Cineplex in Toronto's Eaton Centre, and this is often considered as the forerunner to modern megaplexes. The first megaplex in the world is generally considered to be Kinepolis Brussels in Brussels, Belgium, which opened in 1988 with 25 screens. The first megaplex in the United States was AMC Theatres' Grand 24 in Dallas, Texas, which opened in 1995.

This AMC megaplex sparked a wave of megaplexes across the country, financed in part by private equity money and causing a dramatic shift in the face of cities across America. In each town, a megaplex would often put the town's smaller theaters and even multiplexes out of business, and were often coupled with other big box stores that were reaching their zenith at the time. This expansion was executed much too quickly, and almost all the major movie theatre companies went bankrupt at this time, although the daily operations of the local theaters were not much affected.


  • Marlene Edmunds, "Kinepolis Keeps The Plexes Coming," Variety, June 15, 1998, p. 74.
  • William Echikson, "Taking The Megaplex On The Road," Business Week, no. 3547 (Oct. 6, 1997), p. 21.
  • Short film on the creation of the Cineplex

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