Imax inks three film co-production deal with Chinese studio

MUMBAI: Imax Corporation and China’s privately owned media group Huayi Bros. Media Corporation Ltd have inked a co-production deal for three films.

The upcoming Chinese film Aftershock, to Imax Theatres in China, other parts of Asia and key North American markets in July 2010, will be the first film to release under this deal. Directed by Feng Xiaogang, Aftershock will be the first mainstream Chinese film and the first mainstream commercial film outside of the US to be digitally re-mastered into the unparalleled image and sound quality of Imax’s format.

The multi-picture agreement between Imax and Huayi Bros. Media will capitalize on the growing size and scope of the Imax theatre presence in China and throughout Asia. In addition, the agreement will allow both companies to bring outstanding Chinese films, enjoyed by millions of Chinese audiences including those outside China, to mainstream global audiences in a new immersive way. Imax anticipates that Aftershock will play in 25-30 Imax theatres in Greater China and other parts of Asia when it opens next summer.

"It’s our great honor to be working with Huayi Brothers, China’s undisputed leader in the movie industry and acclaimed director Feng Xiaogang. This new arrangement enables the Imax theatre network to expand beyond its role as a key distribution platform for Hollywood blockbusters and introduce a global audience to major movie studios outside of North America through Imax’s immersive format. Our growing presence and new investments in China not only underscore our commitment to building the Imax brand, but also demonstrate our support of the Chinese film industry," said Imax CEO Richard L. Gelfond.

"Working with Imax to present China’s most talked about and anticipated 2010 Chinese film, Aftershock, in Imax’s format, is not just a significant development for Huayi on the international film stage, it is also a milestone step for the mainstream Chinese film industry. The globally-recognized Imax brand has become synonymous with Hollywood’s biggest movie events, and we strongly believe that cache will escalate the visibility of Chinese films on the world’s stage. Working with Imax will give us a competitive advantage in the marketing and distribution of Aftershock and future Chinese films," added Huayi Bros. Media chairman and CEO Dennis Wang.

State Administration of Radio, Film and Television’s (SARFT) Motion Picture Bureau director-general Tong Gang said, "This agreement between two industry leaders today further demonstrates the recognition of Chinese films by the international film industry, which is already winning some of the most prestigious awards in film festivals around the world. I firmly believe that films are one of the best ways to showcase our Chinese culture, and I am excited that this partnership will expose cinema-goers all over the world to more and more of the best Chinese movies, and in the process, help bridge China’s geographical and cultural divide with the world."

"Imax is a well-respected international brand that represents an advanced immersive movie experience, coupled with unparalleled image and sound quality It will be the ideal theatrical format to present the devastation of the Tangshan earthquake and the Chinese people’s resistance and camaraderie in times of adversity that is depicted in my latest film," added Xiaogang.

China is Imax’s largest international growth market with 18 theatres currently open and more than 40 scheduled to be open by the end of 2012.