Carnival Group, which owns and operates Carnival multiplexes, said it will be investing ₹300 crore to set up over 80 multiplexes in tier II and III cities. The company said it is focusing on the second rung cities to tap the latent demand for multi-screens in such cities.

Shrikant Bhasi, Chairman, Carnival Group, told BusinessLine , “There is a dearth of quality entertainment in tier II and III cities. We are looking to add screens in cities which have little or no access to entertainment avenues.”

“We have seen that in smaller cities in Madhya Pradesh people travel to Bhopal during the weekend to watch movies, shop and eat out. We are looking at such cities where there is a compelling need for quality entertainment. Our aim is replicate the city multiplex experience at a lower cost,” he added. He said the company will be adding new screens in cities with an average population of four-five lakh.

Carnival Cinemas has presence in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

The company runs about 460 multiplexes in 112 centres. Recently, it had acquired a mixed-use development project from engineering major Larsen & Toubro’s for a whopping ₹1,785 crore.

The Group had previously also bought out the Big Cinemas multiplex business of Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group for ₹700 crore and Glitz Cinemas. It had also acquired Leela Infopark (Kochi) and Leela Technopark (Thiruvananthapuram) for ₹142 crore.

Earlier, it had acquired HDIL’s multiplexes business for ₹110 crore.

Bhasi said pricing will be a key to its expansion strategy. “We will be delivering a multiplex experience in the price of single screen. Our ticket prices will stand between ₹65 and ₹70.”

The company also plans to expand the group's chain of lounges — D'Bell, its cafe chain called Red Bubble Café and restaurant Rasam.

Asked if the company was looking at distressed multiplexes or malls to strengthen its presence, Bhasi said it may look only if the acquisition gives a strategic advantage.

“We want to grow organically now,” he added. The group has diversified business in hospitality, media and entertainment.

Speaking about the group’s revenues, Bhasi said that the company will close the year with a topline of ₹850 crore.