Broadway Cinema, the cinema management brand of Hong Kong’s Edko Films, has opened the first arthouse cinema in China – Broadway Cinematheque MOMA – in Beijing’s MOMA residential compound. 

The cinema will serve as a new distribution platform for European cinema and arthouse films in China. However its first major event was rather more commercial in nature – it held the Beijing premiere for Michael Jackson’s This Is It.

Broadway Cinematheque MOMA has three screens and 401 seats with both film and digital screening facilities. MOMA is a residential compound in central Beijing with shopping, restaurants and other facilities.

The cinema is now seeking independent and specialty films from China and abroad.

China’s film import regulations allow around 20 smaller films – usually European, Asian and US independent titles – to be imported each year on a flat-fee basis.

Box office for these films has been growing as China’s theatrical market expands and Chinese moviegoers begin to seek more diverse movies. For example, Paul Verhoeven’s Black Book grossed $2.65m (RMB18.1m) earlier this year. 

Broadway Cinematheque MOMA’s manager says the cinema will seek opportunities to introduce films to be shown exclusively in the cinema.

Foreign films to which Edko has acquired mainland rights, which will be officially imported by China Film Group under current regulations, will be one source of films for Broadway Cinematheque MOMA. 

In addition, the cinema is working with foreign embassies in Beijing to hold film festivals of specific countries or regions.

Currently, the cinema is co-hosting The 2nd European Union Film Festival in China, and showing three of the 26 films in the showcase: Women’s Conspiracy (2007) by Greek filmmaker Vassilis Vafeas, Sweden’s Evil (2003) by Mikael Håfström and Flood (2008) by the UK’s Tony Mitchell.