IMAX is expanding in China with 40 more theaters in a revenue-sharing joint venture with Chinese exhibitor Guangzhou JinYi Media.
Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
IMAX called the deal one of the company’s largest signings in China yet, and brings the exhibitor’s total IMAX footprint to 60.
Starting at the end of this year, the partnership will install theaters to new projects as well as existing JinYi Cinemas across China over the course of four years, though the majority will be complete by 2018. IMAX has been working with JinYi Media since 2009.
The move underscores the strengthening ties between Hollywood and China, the world’s most populous country. China holds enormous audience potential for entertainment busineses, thanks to its giant population and exploding middle class. But foreign companies hoping to tap the market face challenges there, including an unchallenged single-party government that requires most companies to partner with a local firm to enter China.
“We are delighted to further expand our partnership with JinYi, one of the largest exhibitors in China,” said IMAX Corp. CEO, Richard L. Gelfond. “We have set a target of 1,000 theatres in China. With over 300 theatres open and – including this deal and a 10-theatre deal announced earlier this year – an additional 270 in backlog, we are just beginning to tap China’s full potential, which is on track to overtake the US as the largest film market in the world by 2017.”