Constructing on a sturdy native box-office restoration, Imax continues to develop its presence in China. The large display exhibitor revealed a deal Thursday with Hengdian Movies for 20 new Imax with Laser system theaters throughout the nation.
The multi-theater settlement marks the biggest deal for brand new Imax techniques in China in 4 years, “reinforcing the renewed demand amongst Chinese language exhibitors and audiences for the Imax expertise with Hollywood and native content material alike,” Imax says.
Regardless of a wobbly financial local weather, China’s theatrical field workplace has loved a wholesome restoration in 2023. Complete annual film ticket income in China is approaching the $7 billion mark, with gross sales simply 10 p.c behind the identical level within the pre-pandemic yr of 2019. Imax, in the meantime, has grown its presence available in the market. The corporate simply delivered its highest-grossing summer time season ever on the native field workplace, with native fantasy epic Creation of The Gods turning into the biggest-performing summer time title on Imax of all time, capturing 10 p.c of the movie’s $390 million field workplace whole.
“We’re excited to deepen our partnership and develop into new markets with Hengdian Movies, as extra exhibitors worldwide develop their dedication to Imax and drive vital development in our community this yr,” Wealthy Gelfond, CEO of Imax, stated in an announcement. “Due to its sturdy mixture of native language and Hollywood content material, China continues to see a fast restoration in moviegoing post-COVID and, as we’re seeing in markets world wide, a rebound on the field workplace is usually adopted by community development for Imax.”
Hengdian Movies is the proprietor and operator of China’s famed Hengdian movie studio. The corporate can also be a serious movie and TV producer, distributor and exhibitor, with a community of 503 cineplexes with 3,154 screens throughout China. It trades on the Shanghai inventory change. The corporate has been in enterprise with Imax since 2017 and has 7 Imax theaters already in operation. The brand new Imax with Laser areas shall be situated in Jingdezhen, Ulanqab and Zhangjiakou, all first-ever areas in China for Imax. New areas are additionally set to open in Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Jiujiang, Hohhot and Yangzhou, with others nonetheless to be confirmed.
“This yr has been pivotal for the business’s revival. From Chinese language New Yr to summer time, moviegoers have constantly proven robust enthusiasm and demand for high-quality content material and a premium expertise,” stated Xu Tianfu, chairman of Hengdian Movies. “Along with Imax, we stay up for making a extra immersive and colourful cinematic journey for audiences throughout extra cities.”
Whereas Imax’s core theatrical enterprise is booming in China, it just lately suffered a strategic setback on the company degree. Earlier this month, Imax’s proposed $124 million deal to amass the 28.5 p.c stake in its Shanghai-based Imax China unit that it doesn’t already personal was voted down by shareholders. The Imax China Holding subsidiary trades on the Hong Kong Inventory Alternate, the place its share value is down 8.5 p.c this yr.