Edwards Theatres Circuit Inc., based in Newport Beach, has started construction of a $4-million, 10-screen multiplex in Simi Valley.
The complex, scheduled for completion in May or June, will give Edwards a total of 17 screens in adjoining shopping centers on East Los Angeles Avenue.
"We feel there's a market for that many screens in the area, especially since the new theaters will offer state-of-the-art sound, wall-to-wall screens and other upgrades," said the company's district supervisor, Michael Tiemeyer.
He added that Edwards is "definitely committed" to building a 12-screen complex in Camarillo even though the Camarillo Airport Authority opposes the project because the proposed site near the Ventura Freeway is considered too close to the airport.
Two other exhibitors, Mann Theatres and United Artists, are vying for city approval to develop multiplexes in Camarillo. Whatever happens to their bids, Edwards wants to go ahead, Tiemeyer said.
"Our studies show that there's a strong market for first-run theaters in that part of Ventura County."
Edwards says it is California's largest theater operator, with 400 screens in 71 locations statewide.