Imax steps up on Asian expansion, signs theatre deal in China

MUMBAI: Imax Corporation is stepping up on its expansion plans in Asia. The company has signed a deal with Zhejiang Xinyuan Cultural Industry Group Co., Ltd, a large government-run cultural enterprise in the People’s Republic of China, to install a digital Imax theatre system at the exhibitor’s new 16-screen multiplex.

The new multiplex is situated in the city of Hangzhou, the capital of China’s Zhejiang province. The theatre is scheduled to open in late June 2010, in time to show Aftershock, the first mainstream Chinese film to be digitally re-mastered into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The Imax Experience.

There are currently 26 Imax theatres open in China, and this deal brings the total number of Imax theatres scheduled to be open in China to 50 by 2012.

"The Imax brand has become very popular with moviegoers in China, and we believe it will be an ideal fit for our new complex in Hangzhou. The recent box office results of other Imax theatres in the country show there is a strong demand for The Imax Experience and we’re very excited to feed that demand with Imax’s exciting slate of films, starting with the digitally re-mastered version of the next big anticipated Chinese blockbuster Aftershock," said Xinyuan chairman and president Lei Xiangqiong.

"The expansion of our Asia-Pacific Imax network is building momentum as Imax operators in the region continue to have success with Hollywood films and anticipate the first digitally re-mastered Chinese films. We’re very happy to enter this partnership with the Zhejiang Xinyuan Cultural Industry Group to offer The Imax Experience to more moviegoers in Hangzhou City and Zhejiang Province. This new location is expected to be one of the top multiplexes in the Zhejiang province and we believe it will be one of many ideal places in the country to increase the commercial visibility of the Imax brand," said Imax CEO Richard L. Gelfond.

The new theater will utilize Imax’s digital projection system, which delivers The Imax Experience and helps drive profitability for studios, exhibitors and Imax theatres by eliminating the need for film prints, increasing program flexibility and ultimately increasing the number of movies shown on Imax screens.

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