March 21, 2014 4:58am PT by Patrick Brzeski
China's Wanda Group to Install RealD 3D in 780 Movie Theaters
Wanda Cinemas, the movie exhibition arm of Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, will install 780 sets of RealD 3D equipment in cinemas across China over the next three years, the company announced on its website Friday.
Wanda Cinemas has become one of world's biggest consumers of cutting-edge exhibition technology. Last December, the company signed a deal with Imax to build 120 giant-format theaters in the country by 2021. The deal made Wanda Imax's largest international exhibition partner.
Primarily a commercial real estate giant, Dalian Wanda, headed by China's sixth-richest individual, Wang Jianlin, has become an increasingly active player in the culture and entertainment industries. In 2012, it bought U.S. cinema chain AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. for $2.6 billion. And last September, the company announced plans to build an $8.2 billion film studio and entertainment facility in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao.
As of late 2013, Wanda Cinemas was running 142 cinemas with 1,247 screens, including 89 Imax screens.
California-based RealD licenses 3D equipment to more than 1,000 cinemas in 74 countries.
While 3D has disappointed in recent years in more developed markets, China has been a bankable territory for the format, thanks to the perceived novelty and spectacle of going to the movies in the country's provincial areas, where cinemas continue to be built at a rapid rate.