China's Bona Film Group Signs Three-Theater Imax Deal

White Haired Witch Still - H 2014
Courtesy of Bona Film Group

White Haired Witch Still - H 2014

The deal comes as both exhibitors expand their screen count in China

As Imax drives harder into China, the giant-screen exhibitor has signed a three theater deal with Chinese film studio and distributor Bona Film Group.

The deal with subsidiary Beijing Bona International Cineplex Investment and Management Co. Ltd. follows Bona earlier opening its first Imax theater in Tianjin as part of a theater-arm expansion. Now the Chinese studio will open new screens in Wuhan and Taiyuan and a third in its Beijing headquarters.

Read more Imax Signs 19-Theater Deal in China

"The booming film industry in China presents strong growth prospects for our film and exhibition business, and Imax is a tremendous partner that has supported our success on both fronts," Bona chairman and CEO Yu Dong said in a statement Wednesday. The latest theater deal for Imax comes as it continues to expand its own screen count in China and screen tentpole Hollywood movies and Chinese titles.

Bona Film Group and Imax pacted on the release of the 2011 martial arts epic Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, as the Canadian-based exhibitor got into the Chinese-language film business. The two partners also released in August the local language title White Haired Witch of the Lunar Kingdom on Imax screens.

To strengthen its position in the booming Chinese movie market, Imax recently sold a 20 percent stake in Imax China business for $80 million to CMC Capital Partners and FountainVest Partners, a China-focused private-equity firm.