Imax China has expanded its decade long partnership with Wanda Film Co. with a twenty-theater agreement that calls for Wanda to upgrade Imax systems in ten existing locations in major cities and install the technology in ten new ones, the companies said Thursday as China prepares to reopen its shuttered theaters starting July 20.
The agreement calls for ten top-grossing Wanda Imax theaters in so-called first and second-tier cities including Beijing and Shanghai will be upgraded to Imax with Laser, Imax’s most advanced theatre experience. They will also shift from a sale to recurring revenue-sharing model.
With the deal, a total of 378 Imax screens in China will now be in Wanda theaters across all tiered cities. Wanda Cinemas has ranked number one in box office, attendance and market share for 11 consecutive years through 2019. Imax said its local language box office in Greater China last year was $366 million.
It brings Imax’ China footprint, including backlog of new projects, to 985 screens.
“Through the past few years, Wanda Film has been continuing to introduce and promote high-quality projection technology in the market. We are committed to presenting the ultimate movie experience for moviegoers,” Liu Xiaobin, Executive President of Wanda Film, said. “IMAX will be critical in welcoming audiences back to theaters and offering the best possible cinematic experience well into future, as we continue to grow our long, successful partnership.”
“Imax is proud to be part of the premium offering that has made Wanda one of the most successful and beloved cinemas across China,” said IMAX China CEO Edwin Tan. “With this agreement, Wanda Film is further cementing its confidence in Imax as the flagship offering for its top locations and a key partner as it prepares to reopen its vast network of theaters throughout China.”
Wanda Film Co. was created in 2005 and is part of the Wanda Group. At year end 2019, it has 656 direct-operated cinemas with 5,806 screens, including 603 domestic cinemas with 5,343 screens. The company has 349 Imax screens.
IMAX China trades on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.