IMAX to expand China theaters by 70% to 360
IMAX Corporation and IMAX China Holding Inc announced the largest ever deal for IMAX theaters on Tuesday. Under its terms, the company is set to build an additional 150 IMAX theaters with Wanda Cinema Line Co Ltd in the next six years.
The deal is expected to expand Wanda Cinema’s footprint of IMAX theaters by more than 70 percent, from 160 to 360, with the majority opening over the next three years and the full rollout to be concluded by 2022.
“This is a landmark development in IMAX’s history and a strategic linchpin in our growth strategy, particularly as we’ve seen over time that signings lead to higher box office and ultimately more revenue,” said Richard L. Gelfond, CEO of IMAX.
“It not only strengthens our market-leading position in China, the world’s fastest-growing film market, but also reinforces our strong working relationship with Wanda Cinema, one of our most important business partners, and speaks of the value Wanda Cinema places on the IMAX business,” he added.
In the first half of 2016, IMAX China reported revenue of $55.1 million in China, up from $43.9 million in the same period of the last year. Gross profit was $33.9 million, or 62 percent of revenue. Net profit for the period increased to $17.7 million.
With the deal, IMAX’s total number of theater signings has reached 284 so far this year, including 229 in China, eclipsing the company’s previous annual global record of 277. China generates about a third of IMAX’s global box-office sales.
Regardless of the slowdown in China’s economic growth, IMAX still sees fast growth in the Chinese market.
Moviegoers buy tickets at the ticket office of an IMAX theater in Wuhan, Hubei province.