IMAX Corporation and China'sLark International Multimedia have signed an agreement that will see six ImaxMPX theatre systems installed in multiplexes over the next four years.
Under the agreement, new andretrofitted facilities will open in major urban areas through 2008. Specificlocations are pending. It's the largest multi-theatre deal the giant-screencompany has signed in Asia and increases the number of announced Imax cinemabuilds in China to 19.
Lark owns two subsidiaries,UA Cinema Circuit, which has 55 screens in eight cinemas in Hong Kong, andStudio City Cinema Holdings, which has three multiplex cinemas in the PRC.
'We have watched IMAX's development for many years,and with the advent of the IMAX MPX system, we feel the IMAX theatre businessnow offers compelling economics,' said Robert Vallone, director andgeneral manager of Lark in a statement. He said the company plans a majorexpansion of its Chinese operations in the coming years and that IMAX theatreswould be an important part of those plans.
IMAX co-CEO'sand co-chairmen Richard Gelfond and Brad Wechsler said China was a key marketfor the company. 'The outstanding box office performance of Hollywoodfilms re-mastered into IMAX's format throughout this region has spurred stronginterest by Asian exhibitors in differentiating their complexes with IMAXtheatres. We believe this deal clearly demonstrates the potential of the IMAXMPX theatre system