Precisely one year ago, IMAX said it was expanding its Middle Kingdom footprint with a fund earmarked for local-language productions. The IMAX China Film Fund was being set up with subsidiary IMAX China and partner China Media Capital to invest in Mandarin-language tentpoles based on an initial capitalization of $50M. Today, the large-format company says it has completed the formative agreements to establish the fund with IMAX China and CMC. It will co-finance approximately 15 Mandarin-language tentpole films over three years with contributions of $3M-$7M per project.
Eyed are movies that can leverage the IMAX brand, technology, relationships, and release windows. IMAX is already a force in China and just this past weekend set new records with the local release of Warcraft.
IMAX also releases non-Hollywood product including such hit titles as Monster Hunt, Go Away Mr Tumor and The Monkey King. On its summer 2016 slate are Edko Films’ Cold War 2; Wanda’s For A Few Bullets; Jackie Chan-starrer Skiptrace; and Time Raider from Le Vision Pictures and Shanghai Film Group. In May, IMAX signed a deal with exhibitor Guangzhou JinYi Media Corp to open 40 more theaters in the Middle Kingdom. The company currently has over 300 theaters open and is targeting 1,000.
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CMC is the investment and operating platform lead by founder Li Ruigang. Its portfolio includes Star China, Warner Bros’ Flagship Entertainment and Oriental DreamWorks.
The China Film Fund will work with local studio, exhibitor and distribution partners, as well as content creators. It will also operate under an IMAX-CMC greenlight committee. IMAX and CMC may potentially bring in other investors to increase the size of the fund, the partners said today.
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