Lumiere Pavilions shows World Cup in 3D

Exhibitor was only one to host such screenings in China

Lumiere Pavilions, one of China's best-known upstart theater brands, said it scored during the recent World Cup as the only national exhibitor to broadcast several final matches in 3D for the nation's soccer-mad fan base.

Owned by Beijing-based ChinaPlex, whose CEO is industry veteran Jimmy Wu, Lumiere screened a series of soccer matches in 3D -- including the final Sunday when Spain beat Holland, 1-0 -- on its "No. 2" screen at the InTime Lumiere Pavilion cinema in the eastern city of Hangzhou.

In an earlier match, when Germany defeated Argentina, 3-0, Lumiere's staff took the pulse of the crowd and quickly downloaded, then blared the Broadway hit "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" on the PA system, Lumiere said in its newsletter Tuesday.

Wildly underscreened, China is adding nearly two screens a day and is expected to reach 6,000 screens by the end of the year as real estate developers and exhibitors ride the twin boom in shopping mall construction and middle class entertainment spending. China's boxoffice gross rose 43% last year to $909 million.

Cinema operators are looking to offset some of the rent they pay to shopping mall owners by charging more for 3D tickets. In the case of "Avatar," which grossed more in China than in any market outside the U.S., 3D tickets often sold for as much as 180 yuan ($26.50)

In June, Imax agreed to install three of its giant screens in Lumiere theaters, including one in the Taikook Hui Lumiere Pavilion in Guangzhou, South China's richest city. In July, Lumiere began its expansion in Jiangsu Province, opening a theater in Changshu. The company plans to open another in Nanjing in the coming weeks and a third, in Huai'an, in September.
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