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U.K.’s Secret Cinema to Launch Its First Event in China

Casino Royale
Eon/Danjaq/Sony/REX/Shutterstock

The U.K.’s Secret Cinema, which puts on immersive cinema experiences, is to launch its first show in China, the world’s second-biggest film market. The British events company has partnered with SMG Live to debut “Secret Cinema Presents ‘Casino Royale'” in Shanghai in November.

The production, which revolves around the film that rebooted the James Bond franchise with Daniel Craig as 007, debuted in London earlier this year. It has attracted more than 120,000 participants and is Secret Cinema’s most successful event to date. SMG Live, part of the state-backed Shanghai Media Group, is set as the exclusive licensee in China.

Secret Cinema was launched in 2007 by Fabien Riggall as a means to increase audience participation and promote interest in cinema. It has put on more than 70 shows that combine music, art, theater and dance. These include adaptations of “Dirty Dancing,” “Moulin Rouge,” “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Blade Runner.”

The shows involve audiences by assigning a character from the film to each ticket holder. When they arrive at the event, they take on their character’s persona and uncover secret storylines before watching a screening of the film.

“Expanding internationally is incredibly complicated even with a traditional theater show, and Secret Cinema is a unique product with added complexities,” Max Alexander, the CEO of Secret Cinema, said in a statement. “We can’t just hire a purpose-built venue. We need a venue that can house a production of this magnitude and then we have to build it.”

Alexander called SMG Live “a perfect partner for Secret Cinema.”

Riggall said that it has been his dream to bring Secret Cinema to other parts of the world. He called China a country “with a rich cinematic heritage with some of my favorite films: Chen Kaige’s ‘Farewell My Concubine,’ Wong Kar Wai’s ‘In the Mood for Love’ and Ang Lee’s ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.'”