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RealD, UME Sign Deal for 50 More 3D Screens in China

The agreement follows a prior pact between the Beverly Hills-based technology provider and Chinese exhibitor, bringing their partnership total to 100 screens in the country.

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Beverly Hills-based 3D cinema licensor, RealD has signed an agreement with Chinese exhibitor UME International Cineplex to install another 50 3D screens across locations in northern China.

Combined with a prior deal between the two companies covering 50 cinemas at UME’s southern Chinese theater circuits, the exhibitor will soon have a total 100 RealD 3D cinemas in its nation-wide network of cineplexes.

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Under the terms of the expanded agreement, RealD is now the exclusive 3D technology provider for UME International Cineplex. Installations of RealD 3D technology at UME northern China locations have already begun, the two companies said.

“Currently, the world’s brightest 3D projection technology is provided by RealD. UME International Cineplex Group will exclusively use the latest 3D technology of RealD,” said See-Yuen Ng, chairman of UME International Cineplex. “Among Chinese moviegoers, there is a tremendous demand for 3D movies, and there are more and more 3D movies being made and released. I believe RealD will have great prospects in China.”

“It is exciting to see UME’s continued development in the China cinema market and RealD is honored to be a part of it,” added Edman Chan, RealD’s vice president and general manager of cinema in Asia Pacific.

See-Yuen Ng, a film producer from Hong Kong, founded UME International Cineplex and launched the company’s first Chinese theater in Beijing’s technology district Zhongguancun in 2002. The company has since expanded into Chinese cities including Shanghai, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Nanjing and Chengdu, with more than 20 cinemas. According to UME, by the end of 2013, it will be operating 22 cinemas, 253 screens and 31,700 seats, with box office revenue estimated to hit $100 million (600 million RMB).

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According to the latest estimates, China has approximately 15,000 screens for its population of 1.3 billion, or roughly one per every 86,000 people (North America, by contrast, has approximately one screen for every 40,000 residents). China is adding screens at a rate of eight to nine per day, and the current total is expected to double by 2015.

RealD 3D, founded in 2003 in Los Angeles, says its technology is currently available on approximately 1,300 screens in China, with future commitments for approximately 1,000 additional installations for a total of about 2,300 screens.

The UME deal follows a similar agreement made by RealD in May with Chinese theater chain Zhejiang Xingguang Cinema Circuit, which is currently equipping 50 of its movie theaters with RealD 3D technology.