IMAX (NYSE: IMAX) (TSX: IMX) and Lark International Multimedia (Lark) today announced two agreements to install a total of five digital IMAX® theatre systems into new multiplexes across Greater China. These agreements bring Lark's total IMAX commitment to 12, and bring the total number of IMAX theatres open or contracted to open in Greater China to 212.
Under the terms of the agreements, the first IMAX theatre is scheduled to open in 2013, three theatres are scheduled to open in 2014 and the remaining theatre is scheduled to open in 2015. Lark currently operates four IMAX theatres in Hong Kong, Wuhanand Shenzhen. In addition, Lark has three IMAX theatres set to open in 2012 and 2013 - in Hong Kong, Guangzhou andChengdu.
"We consider IMAX a key element in our overall growth strategy and the success of our existing installations demonstrates the increasing demand for this superior format," said Mr. Robert Vallone, the Director and General Manager of Lark. "Since the opening of our first IMAX theatre in 2007, IMAX continues to differentiate our multiplexes from competitors. We look forward to continuing to leverage the IMAX advantage by adding five additional theaters to our circuit."
"Lark's UA iSquare IMAX theatre in Hong Kong was the highest grossing theatre worldwide for the blockbuster Avatar," said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond. "The expansion of our successful relationship with Lark underscores how our unsurpassed immersive format combined with our slate of Hollywood and local language blockbusters – such as Bona Films' Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, which has already grossed more than $7 million in IMAX theatres across China – continues to deliver strong results for exhibitors worldwide."
"China is our fastest growing market and our theaters in China are among the highest-grossing IMAX theatres in the world," added IMAX China CEO Jiande Chen. "We are very proud of our longstanding relationship with one of Asia's leading exhibitors and we look forward to continued success with the expansion of their IMAX footprint."
"Lark is a pioneer in the Asian exhibition industry developing some of the very first multiplexes in China and Asia," said Don Savant, IMAX's Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Asia Pacific. "They are also a pioneer in the IMAX business, opening the first IMAX in Hong Kong and in cities across mainland China. We are excited to expand our partnership with one of the top exhibitors in the region."
IMAX's digital projection system delivers The IMAX Experience® and helps drive profitability for studios, exhibitors and IMAX theatres by eliminating the need for film prints, increasing program flexibility and ultimately increasing the number of movies shown on IMAX screens. The system can run both IMAX and IMAX® 3D presentations.