BEIJING — China is launching its own version of Imax technology, called Dmax.
The domestically produced big-screen format has already test-opened in Beijing and in Anhui, in rural Hefei province, and will offer a cheaper alternative to the Canadian technology.
Imax has been a massive success in China, with nearly 60 screens, but the new Chinese version, which is slightly smaller, plans to open at least 15 screens this year in cinemas in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and other cities.
”It’s still in an experimental phase, but in the future there will be a big market for Dmax, since it is much cheaper than Imax,” Wang Cheng, director of business development at the UME cinema chain, told Variety.
The Dmax system is a lot cheaper — tickets cost just 40 yuan ($4.80) compared with prices of up to 150 yuan ($24) for Imax in some venues.
Dmax is backed by the film colossus China Film Group, and has received assistance in developing products from 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures.
China’s film market is booming and the number of screens is rising fast, and Imax has had a monopoly position for several years now.
However, the Chinese biz is mostly state-run, and the focus is always on boosting the home team, so it was only a matter of time before a Chinese version popped up.
Dmax was jointly developed by China Research Institute of Film Science and Technology and China Film, and has also been given approval by the regulator, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT).
Institute topper Yang Xuepei said: ”While embodying the country’s independent core technology of big screen motion pictures production and image optimization, Dmax is also compatible with the most advanced technology overseas.”