The deal suggests that China’s multiplex building boom still has some way to run, and that at least one Korean company is still willing to invest in China, despite China’s currently boycott of Korean cultural products.
CGV and Imax will open the new systems primarily in Tier 1 and Tier 2 Chinese markets under a joint venture/revenue share model, and in additional Tier 3 to 5 markets under a hybrid model requiring no net capital commitment from Imax.
The new theaters will predominantly feature the latest Imax Laser projection system. When completed, CGV will have more than 170 Imax screens in operation in China, Korea, and Vietnam.
“In recent years Chinese audiences have increasingly shown their desire to watch films in the most immersive way possible, driving a stronger demand for the Imax experience,” said Jang Kyungsoon, president of CGV China. CGV entered the Chinese market in 2006, and has 126 high-end cinemas in 64 major cities including Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangdong.
“Building on the momentum we saw during Chinese New Year and strong demand for Hollywood and local language blockbusters alike, Imax China continues to generate solid growth at the box office and across our theater network in 2019,” said Imax CEO Richard L. Gelfond. There are currently more than 600 IMAX theaters in operation across China, with an additional 300 are planned under existing agreements.
Through July 14, those theaters have generated more than $237 million at the box office this year, a 26% increase versus the same time period in 2018. That stands in contrast to a 5% decrease across the entire Chinese box office in 2019.