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Imax Sells More Theaters in China to Lark International

Jet Li Flying Swords of Dragon Gate Poster - P 2011
Distribution Workshop

The Asian multiplex operator ordered five additional super-sized screens for new multiplexes scheduled to be up and running by 2015.

TORONTO - Lark International Multimedia is adding more Imax screens to its Asian circuit.

Toronto-based Imax on Tuesday said it has a new agreement with Lark, which already runs four super-sized screens in Hong Kong, and Wuhan and Shenzhen, to acquire another five digital Imax theaters for its new multiplexes in China.

The first screen will open in 2013, another three are set to open in 2014, with the fifth is to open its doors in 2015.

Lark also has another three theaters on order, which are set to open in 2012 and 2013 in Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Chengdu.

The latest agreement brings to 12 the number of Imax screens Lark is set to run by 2015.

The Asian exhibitor, which builds and operates U.S.-style multiplexes in China and Hong Kong, first started doing business with Imax in 2006 with an initial six-theater order.

The first Imax screen opened its doors in 2007, and that was followed up by the Asian exhibitor turning an opera house attached to a multiplex in Wuhan, China into a large-format theater.

Imax's current Asian expansion is backed by screenings of local language films, including Bona Films' Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, which to day has grossed around $7 million in Imax theaters across China.

Lark International owns and operates Studio City Cinemas in China, and UA Cinemas, a circuit of 59 screens in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Macau.