China Film Group Digital Cinema Line Co, a subsidiary of state-owned China Film Group Corporation, has said that it will release Disney animation Bolt in digital 3D in the latter half of December.

The film will be imported as a revenue-sharing film but is not counted as one the 20 revenue-sharing films of the year. Instead it is being imported with a special approval from the authorities which is designed to promote high-definition screening technology.

A spokesperson at China Film Group Digital Cinema Line says the release date is to be confirmed at the end of the week and the film will be released in more than 150 digital screens that have 3D screening facilities.

Bolt is the second film this year imported by the state-owned digital cinema chain under the special approval with an aim to promote digital technology. The first film was Warner Bros' Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, which was released at the end of September, the national holiday in China.

Released in 85 digital screens, the film took in $9.3m (RMB64m) up until Nov 30, which is seen as a success considering the small release scale. Ticket prices for 3D filmsare between $12-$14.50 which is 80% more expensive than normal tickets.

China Film Digital Cinema Line has been encouraging 2K digital cinema owners to prepare 3D screening facilities on the company's website. According to statistics from China's Film Bureau under the State Administration of Radio, Film and TV (SARFT), up until the end of August there were 800 2K digital screens in China. Around 150 among them have 3D facilities, and the number is still increasing, according to a source from the company.

Some cinema owners in China have stepped up purchases of digital screening facilities as costs have gone down in the past year. Shanghai United Cinema Circuit, for example, purchased more than 100 digital projectors and 23 sets of 3D facilities in May.

It is understood that the state-owned digital cinema line used to have its own independent quota to import foreign films outside the 20-film revenue-sharing import quota. However, since early this year the company was no longer entitled to independently import 2D films for release. Instead, the company is granted a special approval to import films for 3D screening.