Imax inks digital theater deal in China

Brings to 40 the number of Imax theatres for China by 2012

TORONTO -- Giant screen exhibitor Imax has an agreement with Guangzhou Jinyi Film & Television Group Co. to open four digital theatres in Chinese multiplexes.

The first three will be installed in Chongqing, Tianjin and Shenyang in the second half of 2011, with a fourth to open in 2012 in an unspecified location.

The deal brings to around 40 the number of Imax theatres to open in China by 2012.

Shirely Ye, general manager of Guangzhou Jinyi Film and Television Investment Group, in a statement said the decision to embrace the Imax format came as mainstream Chinese films are to be added to the giant screen exhibitor's slate of super-sized Hollywood movies.

Imax is to start reformatting commercial Chinese films for its theatres from 2010, and will partner with the Beijing-based film studio Huayi Brothers Media to produce three large-format films, including Feng Xiaogang's disaster pic "Aftershock."

Guangzhou Jinyi Film & Television Investment Group runs 19 multiplexes with 150 screens throughout China.