China’s first 4K projectors to be installed.

China’s Shimao Cinema Investment, the cinema development subsidiary of Chinese real estate conglomerate Shimao Group, announced deals with Dolby and Christie, acquiring 100 sets of Dolby Digital Cinema System and 3D Cinema System, and 100 sets of Christie’s digital cinema projectors, including 8 sets of Christie’s 4K projectors. Shimao is so far the first cinema management company to introduce Christie’s 4K system in China.  

Established in mid 2010, Shimao Cinema Investment so far owns 7 cinemas and 58 screens across China. “This year will be a year of fast development for Shimao. We plan to build 60 cinemas and 500 screens in the next 5 years. This is why we are excited about the cooperation with Christie and Dolby this time,” said Liu Ming, general manager of Shimao Cinema Development. Shimao is another real estate group entering China’s booming cinema business, after the success of Wanda Cinema Line, which is currently the highest-grossing cinema circuit in China.

Mahesh Sundaram, Dolby’s Asia Pacific Vice President said in addition to this deal, Shimao was also one of the first in China to introduce Dolby Surround 7.1, with the screenings of Tron Legacy and Toy Story 3 in Shimao’s cinema in Shaoxing City of East China.

“We are honored to work with Chinese companies like Shimao to build up advanced cinemas in China,” said Sundaram. So far, Dolby has promoted 1500 sets of digital cinema systems, 1100 sets of 3D cinema systems and 2600 Dolby sound system in China, according to Sundaram.

The deals echoed with a heated discussion at a forum of the ongoing Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) on the increasing importance of digital cinemas in China. Cinema managers such as Zhang Baoquan from Time Antaeus and Gao Jun from Beijing New Film Association said that digital screens have now contributed to more than 70%, sometimes 80% of the box office revenue in China.