Beijing, China, and New York, NY– Sep. 12, 2012 – IMAX Corporation and Huayi Bros Group Ltd, one of China’s largest film studios, today announced an expansion of their partnership with the digital re-mastering of four Huayi Bros.’ motion pictures in the IMAX format. The films will be released into IMAX theatres across China throughout the remainder of 2012 and include Tai Chi 0 (Sep. 27), Tai Chi Hero (Oct. 25), Back to 1942 (TBC), and Chinese Zodiac (Dec. 20). The companies also announced a commitment to present an additional three Huayi Bros. films in IMAX, bringing to eight the total of number of films included under the expanded partnership.
The companies initiated their partnership with the box office hit Aftershock in July 2010 which was the first Chinese IMAX DMR® title, grossing more than $102 million. Richard L. Gelfond, CEO of IMAX, said:. “Today, we are delivering on our promise to present more local-language titles in IMAX for Chinese audiences to enjoy. We believe this strategy will also create opportunities for IMAX to export these films to other large markets, such as Southeast Asia and North America.” Huayi Brothers Group Ltd is one of China’s largest film studios and holds about a 30-40 percent market share in domestic movie production (top 20 films) and 30 percent in movie distribution.
Huayi was established by brothers Wang Zhongjun (Dennis Wang) and Wang Zhonglei (James Wang) in 1994. The Wang brothers hold a combined stake in Huayi of more than 50 percent. Other major investors include Tom Group Ltd., Focus Media Holding Ltd., and Yahoo China. The company has solely or jointly produced more than 50 movies since 1998. Huayi has begun to build a theatre network in China with plans for 150 to 200 screens within five years.