IMAX Corporation (NASDAQ: IMAX; TSX: IMX) and Wanda Cinema Line Corporation, one of the fastest growing and most competitive cinema chains in China, today announced an agreement to expand their relationship with the installation of three additional IMAX systems in the cities of Quanzhou, Wuhan and Dalian. These theatres are in addition to the four IMAX locations the exhibitor already operates and the seven IMAX locations it currently has scheduled to open.
The agreement brings the total number of IMAX® theatres to be operated by Wanda Cinema Line by the end of 2012 to 14. The People's Republic of China is IMAX Corporation's fastest-growing market, with more than 50 IMAX theatres scheduled to be operating in China by 2012.
Five of the 14 IMAX locations operated by Wanda Cinema Line are scheduled to be opened and available to consumers 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®.
"Wanda Cinema Line is committed to bringing the first-class visual and audio experience to its audiences, which coincides naturally with the premium IMAX experience. We are happy to witness the growing number of people in China who choose to go to Wanda IMAX theatres," said Mr. Jerry Ye, General Manager of Wanda Cinema Line. "We also highly appreciate IMAX's efforts to attract more people to their movies and begin to transfer Chinese blockbuster films, such as the upcoming release of Aftershock, the first Chinese language film to be released in the IMAX format. We appreciate IMAX's significant efforts in China and look forward to opening more locations with IMAX in the months and years ahead."
Speaking from the Shanghai International Film Festival, IMAX's Chief Executive Officer Richard L. Gelfond commented, "Our momentum in China continues as we build on existing relationships with high profile exhibitors and enter the business of releasing local language IMAX releases. Wanda Cinema Line, one of the largest operators of IMAX theatres in Asia, is an outstanding theatre operator and an excellent partner. We're proud to be associated with such a high profile brand as we continue to accelerate our network growth in the region."
Added Mr. Gelfond, "The release of Aftershock is made possible by the growth in the IMAX theatre network in China, the consumer demand for The IMAX Experience and our ability to rapidly deploy theatres as a result of our digital projection technology. We are hopeful that Aftershock will be a springboard to additional in-language, in-market films."
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.