Imax, CMC to Co-Finance 15 Chinese Tentpoles Via $50M Fund

THR Richard Gelfond 160428_Richard_Gelfond_173_FR - H 2016
Allison Michael Orenstein

THR Richard Gelfond 160428_Richard_Gelfond_173_FR - H 2016

The giant-screen exhibitor says its China Film Fund, unveiled exactly a year ago, will invest in 15 Chinese-language movies.

Imax China and China Media Capital said Thursday that the $50 million Imax China Film Fund they unveiled exactly one year ago has finally been formalized.

The partners are now planning to co-finance approximately 15 Mandarin-language tentpole films over three years with contributions of $3 million-$7 million per project. The fund will target productions that can leverage the Imax brand, technology, relationships and release windows, the companies said in a joint statement.

The fund will operate under an Imax-CMC greenlight committee. The partners have left the door open to bringing in other investors to increase the size of the fund.

"Our strong relationships with China's most acclaimed studios and filmmakers mirror those we've established in Hollywood, thanks to the support of our valued partner CMC," said Imax CEO Richard Gelfond. "The fund will further deepen our ties in the China film industry and allow us to generate the highest-quality Mandarin content for Chinese and international audiences alike. Our commitment to the success of our business in China and its filmmaking community is unwavering. Together, we are excited to launch a new and exciting chapter of filmmaking in China."

CMC, founded and chaired by Ruigang Li, is one of China's most prominent investment and operating platforms. Its investment portfolio includes Warner Bros.' Flagship Entertainment, BaseFX, Oriental DreamWorks, Star China and other internet ventures and lifestyle brands.

Said Li: "The fund is an outgrowth of CMC's privileged capability and extensive connections in the Chinese film industry and Imax's beloved brand and differentiated cinematic experience. We hope this will support the creation of more tentpole Mandarin-language films."