Building on impressive network growth in 2010, IMAX today announced an eight-theatre deal in China with entertainment developer and exhibitor Guangzhou Junyi Film & Television Group.

The agreement adds to the four IMAX theatres already contracted between the two parties, bringing the exhibitor’s number of IMAX theatres scheduled to open by 2014 to 12.

The first installation is scheduled to be completed during December 2010, followed by another five in 2011, four in 2012, one in 2013 and one in 2014.

“IMAX represents the world’s best cinematic experience and it is very clear that the IMAX brand is highly regarded by consumers in China, where IMAX screens are significantly outperforming conventional movie screens in both 2D and 3D,” said Shirley Ye, General Manager, Guangzhou Jinyi Film and Television Investment Group. “We chose to add IMAX locations based on the rapidly growing demand for The IMAX Experience in cities throughout China, and the proven business model of IMAX’s digital projection system.”

“Our business model is based on installing IMAX theatres in hand-picked, select locations, and we believe expanding our relationship with Guangzhou Jinyi Film & Television Group will extend our access to more of those ideal locations,” said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond. “Additionally, the need to foster relationships with exhibitors that have extensive experience with mixed programming is essential as we begin to explore the business of adding mainstream Chinese films to our slate in the greater China market.”

Gelfond continued, “Our Chinese network is scheduled to at least double in size over the next couple of years, and the high number of signings we’ve had year-to-date worldwide is positioning us for significant network growth in 2010, 2011 and beyond.”

The deal brings the total number of IMAX theatres scheduled to be operating in China by 2014 to 65, and the number of theatre systems signings announced year-to-date by the Company to 103.