Imax to Re-Master More Films for China’s Huayi Bros.

The large-screen company has been looking to partner on more local-language movie releases with a eye on potentially exporting them to other large markets.


Imax Corp. and Chinese film studio Huayi Bros. Group on Wednesday unveiled an expansion of their partnership that had started with the theatrical release of Aftershock: The Imax Experience in 2010.

They will partner on the digital re-mastering of four upcoming Huayi Bros. films in the Imax format. They will be released in theaters across China throughout the remainder of 2012. The companies also said they have agreed to present an additional three Huayi Bros. films in Imax, bringing to eight the total of number of films included under the expanded partnership.

The first four films, announced at a press conference in Beijing, are martial arts action films Tai Chi 0, which will be released on Sept. 27, and sequel Tai Chi Hero, which follows on Oct. 25, historical drama Back to 1942, which doesn’t have a launch date yet, and adventure film Chinese Zodiac, which will reach Imax theaters on Dec. 20.

“We are delighted to expand our partnership with Huayi Bros. as they share our commitment to showcasing the incredible talent and passion of Chinese cinema,” said Imax CEO Richard Gelfond. “Today, we are delivering on our promise to present more local-language titles in Imax for Chinese audiences to enjoy. We believe this strategy will also create opportunities for Imax to export these films to other large markets, such as Southeast Asia and North America.”

Aftershock: The Imax Experience was the first Chinese digitally remastered Imax title and grossed more than $102 million.

“We are pleased to once again work with Imax based on Aftershock’s success,” said Wang Zhonglei, president of Huayi Bros. “We will constantly strive for excellence and attention to detail in our films and strive to bring more audiences the ultimate movie-going experience.”

Described as "China's Warner Bros. of tomorrow," Huayi holds about a 30 percent-40 percent market share in domestic movie production out of China’s top 20 films, according to the company.

It was established by brothers Wang Zhongjun (Dennis Wang) and Wang Zhonglei (James Wang) in 1994. The brothers control a combined stake of more than 50 percent. In the firm Other major shareholders include Yahoo China, Tom Group and outdoor media firm Focus Media.

Twitter: @georgszalai