IMAX may have recently hit a stumbling block in its goal of acquiring IMAX China, however the premium large format giant was able to strike a partnership with Hengian Films to grow its footprint in the country by twenty screens. The agreement is the largest deal for new IMAX systems since 2019 and certainly underscores the moviegoer preference for premium moviegoing experiences in China as, Xu Tianfu, Chairman of Hengdian Films, highlighted, “From Chinese New Year to the summer season, moviegoers have consistently shown strong enthusiasm and demand for high-quality content and a premium experience.”
The twenty new IMAX locations across China will feature IMAX with Laser, and be located in Jingdezhen, Ulanqab and Zhangjiakou, all first-ever locations in China for IMAX, with additional new locations set to open in Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Jiujiang, Hohhot, Yangzhou with more venues to be announced. Hengdian Films and IMAX have been partners since 2015 and the new agreement will bring the total number of IMAX locations with the exhibitor to 26.
It’s easy to see why Hengdian is expanding the relationship with IMAX China delivering its highest grossing summer season ever at the box office. IMAX has earned more than USD $18.4 million to date in China with Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” having garnered 30% of the film’s opening weekend box office on less than 1% of screens. The fantasy film “Creation of The Gods” also became IMAX China’s all-time best summer title, with the format capturing 10% of the film’s total box office.
The agreement with Hengian comes within the same week that IMAX announced expansion of their partnership with Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) in Malaysia that will see at least five new screens roll out.