The number of cinema screens per capita reflects the level of economic development of a country as well as the market for films and the cinema going culture of the country.
There are approximately 200,000 cinema screens worldwide. 40,000 of these are in the USA. The USA, being the home of the global film industry based in Hollywood, unsurprisingly has the largest number of cinema screens per capita in the world. France, the birthplace of cinema, is 2nd. Paris has the highest density of cinemas in the world. All the top 5 are developed western countries. Mexico is notably high for a developing country. There is a great passion for cinema-going in Mexico. The passion for films in Mexico has doubtless contributed to the recent success of Mexican film directors in Hollywood. Despite it's high volume of film production, India has a relatively small number of cinema screens per capita.
There has been an increase in the number of cinema screens in the USA. It was more dramatic in the 90s. There was a brief period from 1999 to 2001 when the number of cinema screens declined but since then there has been a steady increase although far less dramatic than in the 90s. The number of outdoor cinemas has declined significantly.
AMC is an American cinema chain which is the largest cinema chain in the world. It has over 10,000 cinema screens in total, mostly in the United States. The AMC megaplex (pictured) in Ontario, California has 30 screens.
Photo by Coolcaesar
China has seen an extraordinary rise in the number of cinema screens in the past decade from 5,000 in 2010 to 70,000 in 2020. The USA still has more cinema screens on a per capita basis but China has surpassed many high income countries in per capita terms as well. The rapid rise in the number of cinema screens in China corresponds to an overall rapid economic growth.