WB flexes China plexes

Exhib pacts with local investors to roll out screens

BEIJING — Warner Bros. is expanding its multiplex business into second-tier cities in China with the announcement that it will open its first multiplex in the southwestern city of Chongqing today.

Warner Bros. Intl. Cinema has teamed with local investors SZITIC Commercial Property to roll out another four joint-venture cinemas in the cities of Changsha, Shenzhen, Nanchang and Zhengzhou.

“The key to success in the Chinese market lies in marrying international professional experience with local resources,” WBIC prexy Millard Ochs said. “We have a long-term commitment to China.”

The group opened China’s first cinema complex operated and branded by a foreign entertainment company when it opened Shanghai’s Paradise Warner Cinema City in partnership with the Shanghai Film Group in 2002.

It has been China’s top-grossing cinema for the past three years.

WBIC also has a joint venture with Guangzhou Jinyi Film & Television Investment Co. to build four multiplex theaters.

WBIC operates 87 cinemas with 681 screens worldwide.

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