IMAX Corporation (NASDAQ: IMAX; TSX: IMX) and Stellar Investment Co., Ltd., a leading Chinese entertainment and media company that operates theatres under the name Stellar Cinemas, today announced an agreement to install two digital IMAX® theatre systems into multiplexes in Shanghai and Beijing.
The first location is scheduled to be installed in the Shanghai Stellar Zhengda Multiplex in Shanghai in time for the highly-anticipated release of Aftershock, the first Chinese film to be digitally re-mastered into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience®. The other location is scheduled to be installed in Beijing as part of a new complex which is expected to be completed in 2011. The People's Republic of China is IMAX Corporation's fastest-growing market, with 26 locations currently open and more than 50 scheduled to be operating by 2012.
"The IMAX Experience is generating incredible consumer response in China, and we believe entering this partnership creates an opportunity for us to extend the IMAX premium moviegoing experience to more consumers and increase the visibility of our brand," said Bruce Ren, President of Stellar Cinemas. "We're particularly pleased with the speed at which a digital IMAX theatre system can be installed, as it will enable us to capitalize on the upcoming IMAX release of Aftershock in July, in addition to the large slate of digitally re-mastered Hollywood films."
"Today's announcement provides another proof point that an IMAX theatre is a significant addition to key multiplexes in this rapidly growing market," said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond. "The rollout of our digital projection system has enabled us to begin expanding IMAX programming to include mainstream Chinese films, and that is generating more interest from Chinese exhibitors which is resulting in new locations. We are very pleased to be associated with a leading Chinese entertainment company like Stellar as we continue to expand our audience and grow our network in the region."
IMAX's digital theatre system 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. The system can run both IMAX and IMAX 3D presentations.