INTERVIEW: IMAX Sees No Slowdown in China, Seeks More Local Films
By Aaron Back auf September 20, 2012
--IMAX Corp. benefiting from growth in movie-going among the Chinese public
--IMAX signing deals to screen more Chinese films to hedge against blackouts on foreign imports
--Company to increase its number of China screens by 50% this year
BEIJING-IMAX Corp. is benefiting from explosive growth in movie-going in China, and hasn't seen any impact from the wider economic slowdown there, Chief Executive Richard Gelfond said.
At the same time, the company is signing deals to show more Chinese-made films on its giant, high-resolution screens--a hedge against Chinese regulators' practice of imposing blackout periods on screenings of foreign films, Mr. Gelfond told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview.
IMAX's box-office revenue per screen in China was up 30% in the first half from a year earlier, he said. The company collects a percentage of box-office receipts from both cinemas and studios for films shown on its jumbo screens, for which moviegoers pay a premium.
"I haven't seen any evidence at all of consumers losing the appetite to spend the incremental money to see an IMAX film," Mr. Gelfond said.
The number of IMAX screens in China is set to grow by about 50% this year, to more than 100 from around 70 at the end of 2011. IMAX has contracts to build a further 140, which would bring the total in China to around 240, compared with around 350 in the U.S., Mr. Gelfond said. Read the entire article on The Wall Street Journal's website.