Imax Corporation signs multi-theatre deal in China

MUMBAI: Imax Corporation and China’s Guangzhou Jinyi Film & Television Group have signed an agreement to open four Imax theatres in China.

The first three installations are scheduled to be completed during the second half of 2011 in the cities of Chongqing, Tianjin and Shenyang. A fourth installation is scheduled for 2012 in a yet-to-be determined location. Each Imax theatre will be part of a newly constructed multiplex, and each will utilize Imax’s digital projection technology.

There are currently 81 Imax theatres scheduled to be operating in Asia by 2014, including more than 40 scheduled to be open in China by 2012. To date, Imax has signed contracts for more than 220 Imax digital projection systems worldwide, with more than 100 currently in operation.

"Including Imax theatres in these new locations will provide our customers with the most immersive premium movie-going experience on the planet, which is becoming increasingly important as the technologies in regular movie theatres and in the home continue to improve. With mainstream Chinese films now being added to Imax’s usual slate of Hollywood blockbusters, the decision to enter the Imaxbusiness was easy to make. We’re very excited to enter the Imax business during such a pivotal time," said Guangzhou Jinyi Film and Television Investment Group general manger Shirely Ye.

"We believe our network growth in Asia is gaining momentum thanks to the appeal of our new digital projection system and our expanded film programming for the region. Entering into partnerships with well-known, experienced entertainment companies such as Guangzhou Jinyi Film & Television Group, helps us expand our audience base, strengthen the Imax brand and drive interest from other exhibitors in Asia who want to remain competitive in the market," said Imax CEO Richard L. Gelfond.

"China is the fastest growing exhibition market in the world, and Guangzhou Jinyi Film & Television Group’s experience in the exhibition business with both Hollywood movies and mainstream Chinese films makes them an ideal partner as we continue to build our presence in the region," added Imax senior vice president and managing director, Asia Pacific Don Savant.

The four-theatre deal is the second multi-theatre announcement between Imax and a Greater China area exhibition company in three months, following the June agreement between Imax and Chinese film studio Huayi Bros. to release mainstream Chinese films to Imax theatres in China and other parts of Asia.