Imax Signs 14 Laser-Theater Deal in China

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The pact with a government-owned property developer gets the giant-screen exhibitor's next-generation projection systems deeper into the fast-growing market.

Giant-screen exhibitor Imax has signed a deal to get its next-generation projection systems deeper into China amid breakneck cinema construction across the Asian market.

Imax on Tuesday unveiled an agreement with Wanying Cinema Line, a division of the Chinese government-owned real estate developer China Resources Land, that will see Imax's commercial laser projection system installed in 14 more locations by 2021.

The Toronto-based large format exhibitor says it has now signed agreements for more than 900 Imax locations in China. China Resources Land already has an Imax laser system installed in its Chongqing and Taiyuan MIXCINE Imax theaters to open Sept. 15.

The new deal for 14 more laser systems will be installed in new MIXCINE branded multiplexes within China Resources Land’s new luxury shopping centers. The Canadian and Chinese partners opened their first Imax theater in March 2018.

Imax CEO Richard Gelfond in a statement insisted the latest laser theater deal underlined the Chinese government's appetite for Hollywood blockbuster content to drive foot traffic to the local multiplex. "Imax is now more entrenched than ever in the fabric of China’s cinema industry as we continue to expand our network through forging partnerships with the nation’s leading developers, exhibitors and studios and by presenting a growing number of Chinese blockbusters," Gelfond said.

The latest Imax deal in China also comes as the Asian market is poised to overtake North America as the largest theatrical film market worldwide in the next several years.