China's Wanda Plans to Open 80 IMAX Theaters by 2021
By The Wall Street Journal: Laurie Burkitt on December 17, 2013
BEIJING—China's Wanda Cinema Line Corp. is expanding its partnership with IMAX Corp. IMX.T +3.92% , signing on 80 new IMAX theaters in a deal that would make China the big-screen company's largest market.
Wanda, a unit of real estate conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group Co. and China's largest movie-theater chain by outlets, plans to open the 80 IMAX theaters by 2021, rolling out 20 each year starting in 2016, said IMAX Chief Executive Richard Gelfond. The company declined to disclose investment details of the deal.
The two companies announced in July plans to open 40 new theaters together with an option to increase the total to 120. The other 80 were contingent on IMAX's performance in the market and its technology. Wanda currently runs 82 IMAX theaters.
A spokesman for Wanda said IMAX "ultimately brings more moviegoers to Wanda cinemas."
The Wanda deal also propels IMAX'S latest push to launch laser projection systems to illuminate its large screens. Half of Wanda's new 80 IMAX theaters will feature the new laser technology, which will give moviegoers the highest-definition images, said Mr. Gelfond.
"Two of our biggest priorities are China and laser, and this one deal accelerates our efforts on both fronts," said Mr. Gelfond.'
Read more about IMAX's plans to expand in China on the Wall Street Journal's website.