‘IMAX’ Tag
Imax Forms Joint Venture to Distribute Home Theater Content in China
Toronto, April 16th (Hollywood Reporter)

The deal with Wasu Digital TV Media Group will see Hollywood and local theatrical content marketed to Chinese households.

Imax has taken a major step toward introducing its mass-market home theater option in China.

The giant screen exhibitor and TCL Multimedia Technology Holdings have formed a joint-venture partnership with Wasu Digital TV Media Group, a Chinese digital content provider.

WASU is also one of five operators approved by Chinese authorities to deliver multimedia content to the home.

WASU will license and distribute Imax-enhanced Hollywood and Chinese theatrical content via the Imax-TCL premium home theater system.

Imax has a proprietary system through an alliance with startup Prima Cinema that can encrypt and transmit theatrical releases from Hollywood studios for secure home viewing.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

DreamWorks Animation, Chinese Partners Unveil Plans for Shanghai Entertainment Complex
Shanghai, March 20th (Hollywood Reporter)

The $2.4 billion project will include a 500-seat IMAX cinema, with international film festivals and red carpet events in mind, along with bars, restaurants and performance venues.

DreamWorks Animation and Chinese partners unveiled designs on Thursday for a 15 billion yuan ($2.4 billion) entertainment complex in Shanghai, expanding Hollywood’s growing ties with China.

The “DreamCenter,” due to open in 2017, will have a 500-seat IMAX cinema with international film festivals and red carpet events in mind, bars, restaurants and performance venues, the companies said. It will also showcase a “Dream Avenue” theater district modeled on London’s West End and New York City’s Broadway.

The project is led by DreamWorks Animation, Chinese investment fund CMC Capital Partners, whose owners include state-owned companies, and Hong Kong developer Lan Kwai Fong.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

China’s Wanda Group Commits to Building 120 Imax Screens by 2021
Beijing, December 18th (Hollywood Reporter)

he deal will make China the giant screen exhibitor’s largest market in the world.

China’s Wanda Cinema Line Corp. has signed a deal with Imax to build 80 giant-format theaters in the country by 2021, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

The deal will make China Imax’s biggest market in the world. Wanda, the movie exhibition unit of real estate and media conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, plans to open 20 new Imax theaters each year beginning in 2016, Imax CEO Richard Gelfond told the Journal. Financial details were not disclosed.

Wanda already runs 82 Imax theaters in its shopping and entertainment centers, which are located in major cities across China.

In July, Wanda and Imax revised an existing joint venture agreement, stipulating that Wanda would build at least 40 and as many as 120 new theaters over the next 12 years. The new deal ups Wanda’s commitment to 120.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

Imax Sees $1 Billion in Movie Revenue on China
Beijing, September 12th (Bloomberg)
Imax Corp. (IMX) Chief Executive Officer Richard Gelfond forecasts annual box office receipts will almost double to $1 billion in the next few years as the big-screen cinema company expands in China, Russia and the Middle East.

“We’ve identified 1,700 target markets to put Imax theaters into in the world, and about 500 of them are in North America, so over time the vast majority of our revenues are going to come internationally,” Gelfond, 58, said in an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival, where the company is presenting movies for the first time, including space thriller “Gravity.”

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Source: Bloomberg

Digital Domain’s new Hong Kong owner, Wanda’s Imax affair
Beijing, July 30th (SCMP)

Digital Domain is headed for turbulence with its takeover by a new Chinese parent, while Wanda may be moving too fast with a major expansion of its Imax tie-up.

A couple of news bits are highlighting China’s rapidly blossoming love affair with Hollywood, and also hinting at the turbulence we’re likely to see in the next couple of years as Chinese firms invest too much as they become smitten with show business. One of those deals has US digital effects house Digital Domain being taken over by a new Chinese owner less than a year after it was purchased out of bankruptcy by a Beijing-based film producer. The other has leading theatre chain owner Wanda Group significantly boosting its ties with Canada’s Imax (Toronto: IMX), as it invests heavily in Imax’s big-screen technology.

Both of these deals shine a spotlight on the building bubble in China’s film and related theatre businesses, which are seeing massive new investment as China and Hollywood rapidly expand their ties. Much of that new love affair is understandable, since China’s box office is growing rapidly and is now the world’s second largest behind only the US. But as with many things in China, this sudden rush of companies into a hot new industry is likely to result in a bubble due to excessive new investment.

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Source: SCMP

Wanda Orders Up to 120 New Imax Theaters for China
Toronto, July 24th (Hollywood Reporter)

The latest deal revises a 2011 joint venture between the giant screen exhibitor and the Asian exhibition giant.

Asian exhibition giant Wanda Cinema Line Corp. has inked a deal with Imax for up to 120 new theaters for China.

Wanda and and Imax have revised their 2011 joint revenue share agreement to add at least 40 and as many as 120 new theaters to be located throughout China.

The deal also extends Wanda’s lease terms for all new theaters to 12 years, from 10, and will see Wanda commit to up to 210 theaters.

The latest deal also makes Wanda Imax’s largest international exhibition partner.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

IMAX Says Trade Secrets Ended Up in China
Los Angeles, July 1st (courthousenews)

IMAX claims in court that a former employee swiped its big-screen digital movie trade secrets and used them to start his own company in China.

IMAX sued GDC Technology USA, and two companies called GDC Technology Limited, one based in the British Virgin Islands and one in the Cayman Islands. The lead defendant is a California LLC. IMAX is a Canadian corporation.

The federal complaint states: “IMAX has filed this action to stop GDC’s illegal commercial exploitation of IMAX’s trade secret large format digital theatre projection system and film conversion technologies. Former IMAX employee, Gary Tsui, stole this proprietary technology from IMAX, then surreptitiously provided it to film companies in China, including a company now called China Giant Screen, for which he is the ‘chief engineer.’ China Giant Screen uses IMAX’s trade secrets under the name ‘China Film Giant Screen’ (‘CFGS’). Defendant GDC is now knowingly and actively using IMAX’s trade secrets through, among other things, its relationship with CFGS, in its efforts unfairly to compete globally with IMAX,”

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Source: courthousenews

China extends import tax exemption for science films
Beijing, April 5th (Xinhua)

China’s Ministry of Finance (MOF) announced Thursday the extension of a three-year import tax exemption for popular science films for public consumption.

The exemption, effective from Jan. 1, 2012 to Dec. 31, 2015, has been approved by the State Council and was aimed at promoting scientific knowledge, said the MOF in a statement on its website.

The country’s science and natural history museums, astronomical and meteorological observatories, seismic stations, and higher educational and research institutions have been exempted from customs duties and import value-added tax for the import of popular science films and television programs since 2009, according to the MOF.

A detailed list of the revisions is available on the MOF website.

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Source: Xinhua

In China Movie Pact, More 3-D, Less Reality
New York, February 19th 2011 (New York Times)

More “Mission: Impossible”? Bring it on.
The next “Les Misérables”? We’ll see.

A new agreement widening access in China to films from around the world, announced by negotiators for China and the United States late on Friday, brings with it a message about what the next wave of movie exports will look like: They will be large, in 3-D and mostly unrelated to the real world.

In an interview on Sunday, Christopher J. Dodd, chief executive of the Motion Picture Association of America, said the focus on premium-format films reflected a bit of diplomacy that allowed the Chinese to add 14 films in a special category, without formally abandoning their existing quota of 20.

“To use their words, it was too politically sensitive for them to break that 20-film quota,” said Mr. Dodd. The new system, he said, is subject to review in five years, and it is still possible that American studios and officials will press for more access in the interim.

The agreement carries a proviso that the special-category films be available in premium 3-D or large-screen Imax formats, even if they are accompanied by conventional 2-D versions.

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Source: New York Times

U.S. Films Win China Access
Washington, February 18th 2012 (Bloomberg)
U.S. filmmakers won improved access to China’s $2.1 billion box-office market in an agreement that resolves a five-year dispute between the two countries at the World Trade Organization.

The deal, announced yesterday as Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping wrapped up his U.S. visit, will increase the number of American films shown in China and gives producers such as Walt Disney Co., Viacom Inc. and Time Warner Inc. a “fairer” slice of ticket receipts, according to a White House statement.

Trade dominated the agenda of the visit by Xi, who is expected to be China’s next leader. The Asian nation is the second-biggest U.S. trade partner, and two-way commerce rose 10 percent last year to $503.2 billion. Xi’s tour included stops in Washington for talks with with President Barack Obama; Iowa, where China agreed to buy $4.3 billion of soybeans; and to the Port of Los Angeles, the biggest entry point for Chinese goods.

The movie agreement will support “thousands of American jobs in and around the film industry,” U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said in the e-mailed statement.

Access to China’s film market has been a point of friction. The Chinese government last year failed to meet a WTO deadline to lift restrictions on U.S. movies. The industry is a key export for the U.S., which enjoys a $12 billion global trade surplus on films and other audiovisual products, the White House said.

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Source: Bloomberg

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