In yet another move to increase its footprint in Asia, IMAX is expanding its partnership with Hengdian Films via an agreement for 20 new IMAX with Laser systems across China. This marks the largest deal for new IMAX systems in four years, reinforcing the strong demand among Chinese exhibitors and audiences for the premium experience with Hollywood and local content alike.
The new IMAX locations will be in Jingdezhen, Ulanqab and Zhangjiakou, all first-ever locations in China for IMAX. Additionally, new locations are set to open in Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Jiujiang, Hohhot and Yangzhou, with more to be confirmed.
The multi-theater pact comes after IMAX China delivered its highest grossing summer season ever at the box office. In 2023, IMAX has earned more than $18.4M with Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer repping 30% of the film’s opening weekend on less than 1% of Chinese screens. The fantasy epic Creation of the Gods also became IMAX China’s all-time best summer title, with IMAX capturing 10% of the film’s total gross. Earlier this year, IMAX recorded its best-ever box office result for the peak moviegoing Chinese New Year period, driven by The Wandering Earth 2, which now stands as the format’s highest-grossing local-language film of all time.
Hengdian focuses on film and television investment, production, distribution, exhibition and other derived businesses. The company has established 503 theaters with a total of 3,154 screens across 197 cities in 29 provinces.
Hengdian and IMAX have been in business since 2015. The new agreement will bring the total number of IMAX locations with Hengdian Films to 27.
Said Xu Tianfu, Chairman of Hengdian Films, “We are delighted to further strengthen our partnership with IMAX through this agreement, which represents a significant step forward in our strategy of developing cinematic multiplex locations and reflects our unwavering confidence in China’s film market. This year has been pivotal for the industry’s revival. From Chinese New Year to the summer season, moviegoers have consistently shown strong enthusiasm and demand for high-quality content and a premium experience. Together with IMAX, we look forward to creating a more immersive and colorful cinematic journey for audiences across more cities.”
Added IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond, “We’re excited to deepen our partnership and expand into new markets with Hengdian Films, as more exhibitors worldwide grow their commitment to IMAX and drive significant growth in our network this year. Thanks to its robust mix of local language and Hollywood content, China continues to see a rapid recovery in moviegoing post-COVID and, as we are seeing in markets around the world, a rebound at the box office is often followed by network growth for IMAX.”