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CGV Expands IMAX Assault on China

Korean exhibitor places second largest order for giant screens

HONG KONG — CJ-CGV, the South Korean cinema exhibition giant, has placed a massive order for IMAX screens, which it will use to accelerate its expansion into China.

IMAX said that the order for 35 screens is the second largest international deal in its history, after a 75-screen deal with China’s Wanda group.

“The deal includes 30 theaters to be installed in new construction projects across China as well as five previously optional theaters in Korea, now confirmed, which are subject to final documentation. Today’s agreement brings CJ CGV’s IMAX commitment to 95 theaters, with 20 in South Korea and 75 in China, positioning it at present as IMAX’s largest exhibitor partner in Asia,” IMAX said in a statement.

IMAX has been a huge success with audiences in China. Not only do they enjoy the giant screens and amped up digital sound, they have also flocked to its oversized brand image. As of Mar. 31, IMAX has 133 theaters open and 117 theaters in backlog in Greater China.

Chinese and Korean companies have also been among the first local-language film producers to make or convert their movies for the giant screen format. “Since 2010, the company has released 10 local-language films in the region, with three thus far in 2013 and four planned for the remainder of the year,” IMAX confirmed.

“We are delighted to expand our IMAX network as it is a key strategy to supporting our growth across Asia Pacific, which has shown strong demand for IMAX’s immersive experience,” said CGV’s CEO, Seo Jung.

CGV previously placed an order for 25 IMAX screens, also to be built into its expanding chain of mainland Chinese multiplexes.

Under the new deal CGV also agreed to install IMAX’s next-generation laser digital projection system in a major metropolitan theater in Korea by the end of 2015. Laser technology is the next generation of digital projection equipment and is expected to deliver greater brightness and darker blacks.

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