Wanda Cinemas said today it will install RealD-equipped screens in 780 theaters in China over the next three years, doubling the 3D supplier’s footprint to more than 1500 in one of the world’s fastest-growing (and most underserved) movie markets. The deal, announced on China-based Wanda’s website and first sniffed out by film blog Celluloid Junkie, will be officially unveiled next week at CinemaCon, we’ve been told (the release on Wanda’s site is dated for March 24, the start of the Las Vegas confab). Wanda Cinemas is a unit of real estate behemoth Dalian Wanda Group, the conglomerate that owns U.S.-based AMC Theatres after a $2.6B acquisition in 2012 that made it the world’s largest cinema owner. It has plenty of screens to outfit and its ambitions are big: it broke ground on the $8.2B Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis complex in September, and also has plans to build a $4.9B Cultural Tourism City in Wuxi with theme park and movie elements. Cinemas are being built at a breakneck pace in China, where annual box office receipts are expected to overtake North America’s by 2018. It will double U.S. results by 2023 according to analysts.
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