“Jim (Cameron) has only ever done two sequels. And each time the ambition was to make them better than the original,” said producer Jon Landau. “Well, we are producing not one, not two, but four ‘Avatar’ sequels.”

Those stirring word had Asian exhibitors on their feet and cheering at the CineAsia convention’s closing lunch in Hong Kong on Thursday. Landau collected an award for being a visionary, but kept quiet about the sequels’ release dates .

The meeting of distributors and exhibitors from the Asia-Pacific region is an annual affair that changes little in its format. But it seems to work. As several speakers chose to remind themselves, Asia remains a growth region for the theatrical film business, even in a year when China’s growth spurt has plateaued.

That robustness was reflected in an attendance that was up 20% over last year and by the growing number of executives from less developed territories, including Mongolia and Myanmar. Strong delegate numbers from both India and China were tribute to those industries growing modernity and to the continued suitability of Hong Kong as a central meeting point. Organizers committed to returning the event next year, Dec. 12-14, 2017.

Landau was not the only celebrity in town for CineAsia. Milla Jovovich and Paul W.S. Anderson presented awards and pumped “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.” France’s Luc Besson turned up in person to give a 20 minute presentation on the weird and wonderful creatures populating his upcoming “Valerian and The City of a Thousand Planets.” His EuropaCorp CEO Marc Schmuger was on hand to unwrap the company’s multiplex-friendly 2017 lineup.

Other awards earning substantial applause went to Dr. Chong Man-nang, founder of cinema servers and management systems company GDC Technology, to Mei Lee Koh, CEO of Malaysia’s GSC cinema chain, and to Disney after a record-breaking year at the box office.

Technology Innovator of the Year: GDC Technology (Dr. Chong Man-namg

DLP Cinema Marketing Achievement Award: VieShow Cinemas (Dennis Wu)

ComScore Asia-Pacific Box Office Award: “The Mermaid”

Motion Picture Association Asia Copyright Educator Award: Rajkumar Akella, MD Theatrical India, comScore

Exhibitor of the Year: Koh Mei Lee, Golden Screen Cinemas

Distributor of the Year: Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture International (David kornblum)

CineAsia Visionary Award: Jon Landau