Imax has signed a deal with Guangzhou JinYi Media Corp, one of the largest exhibitors in China, to open 40 more theaters in the country in what is being described as “a full revenue-share agreement.” The new theaters will be installed at the end of this year through 2020 with the majority to be finished by 2018. Imax says the deal represents one of the largest company signings in China.
“We have set a target of 1,000 theaters in China,” said Imax Corp CEO, Richard Gelfond. “With over 300 theaters open and – including this deal and a 10-theater deal announced earlier this year – an additional 270 in backlog, we are just beginning to tap China’s full potential, which is on track to overtake the U.S. as the largest film market in the world by 2017.”
The new theaters will bring Imax’s total to 60 in China with JinYi in what is known as Tier One to Tier Four cities across the country. Imax has a total of 283 theaters operating now with 270 more yet to be constructed. Under today’s agreement, the exhibitor will bring Imax to several new, untapped markets Huaihua, a city in Hunan province that has a population of about 5 million, and Deyang, a city in Sichuan province with about 4 million people.
JinYi Media has 1,731 screens in 325 subsidiary and affiliated theaters across 21 provinces and four municipalities. This is an extension of a deal for the two companies as they first came together in 2009 to establish four Imax theaters. With this new deal, that makes JinYi Media the third-largest Imax partner in both the Middle Kingdom and internationally.
“Mall developers recognize the power of the Imax brand to attract consumers and with Imax as an anchor entertainment attraction, we were able to secure locations in our desired complexes,” said Leo Li, CEO of Guangzhou JinYi Media Corporation, JinYi Media, which is aggressively expanding its own circuit. “The Imax slate of Hollywood and Chinese blockbuster titles coupled with its powerfully immersive format is beloved by moviegoers in China. Imax is a key differentiator that we believe will not only strengthen the customer experience but also our business results.”
This past weekend on Imax in China, Captain America: Civil War drew $9.5M on 283 screens, marking the second-best opening ever in U.S. dollars, behind only Transformers: Age of Extinction, which pulled in $9.7M in 2014. To put that in perspective, the total purse the Captain was $95.6M in China. Globally, Imax screens pulled in $31M out of a total of $217M; that $31M marked a new record for a day-and-date opening of a Marvel title.
The agreement with JinYi Media marks the second full joint-venture Imax partner in China.