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Megaplexes are taking over, driving out the smaller chains

In Ontario, Calif., a dusty suburb 40 miles east of Los Angeles, moviegoing has become a competitive sport. On one side of the two-lane road that winds through the giant Ontario Mills shopping mall, the AMC offers 30 screens that include Speed 2: Cruise Control and Liar Liar. On the other, Edwards Cinemas counters with Batman & Robin, Austin Powers, and Con Air on its 22 screens. Even on a Sunday, with 90,000 fans diverted to nearby California Speedway, the parking lots are full. "The great thing is you can't get shut out," says Laura Placo, scanning start times for The Lost World: Jurassic Park, showing on no fewer than eight screens and just minutes apart at AMC and Edwards.

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