It is estimated that in Mexico, for every peso that comes into the theaters from ticket sales, around 65 cents stay with the theater company, 20 percent go with the distributor, and the remaining 15 percent wind up in the hands of the producer, who is the one who invests the funds so that the film is made.
In other words, the theater owners are the industry heavyweights, which is good for them, but not for the vitality of the industry, because the heavyweights can get rich piggybacking off of Hollywood's innovation rather than stimulating their own. One small but revealing example of this: in 2007, when Poder put a Mexican cinema titan on its cover, it went with Alejandro Ramírez, the owner of the theater chain Cinépolis, rather than someone who actually makes motion pictures.
The above price distribution seems totally skewed. In the US, theaters have a sliding scale, in which they make very little on a film's sales in the first weekend (sometimes as little as 0 percent on tickets if it's a guaranteed blockbuster), but with their cut steadily increasing the longer the film remains in theaters. (More here and here.) In short, the theaters end up with a much smaller cut, while the people actually responsible for the film's existence are amply rewarded. That's part of the reason you get gouged on concessions more in American theaters, but that's a small price to pay for the regular arrival of compelling films.
In Mexico, that's sadly not the case. But it's not only the compelling films that have been absent, but the crappy films. Most weeks, 90 percent of the theaters in Torreón are filled with Hollywood movies, and the Mexican movies that do arrive are often years old and supported by puny marketing efforts. Were the potential profits greater, one would think that private financing for movies would be much more accessible, and local films --memorable art and regrettable dreck alike-- would be more numerous. In such a world, maybe Cuarón and Del Toro would spend most of their time making movies about Mexico.
Or maybe the theater companies should become movie studios.