IMAX and China’s Huayi Bros. Group expand film partnership

12 September 2012 19 h 44 min Comments Off

IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX; TSX: IMX) and Huayi Bros. Group Ltd. (Huayi Bros.), one of China’s largest film studios, today announced an expansion of their partnership with the digital re-mastering of four Huayi Bros.’ motion pictures in the immersive IMAX format.

The films, which were announced at a press conference held at the Beijing CBD Wanda IMAX Theater, will be released into IMAX® theatres across China throughout the remainder of 2012 and include Tai Chi 0 (Sep. 27), Tai Chi Hero (Oct. 25), Back to 1942 (TBC) and Chinese Zodiac (Dec. 20). The companies also announced a commitment to present an additional three Huayi Bros. films in IMAX, bringing to eight the total of number of films included under the expanded partnership.

The expanded partnership will bring some of Huayi Bros.’ most highly anticipated theatrical releases in 2012 and beyond to IMAX theatres across China. The companies initiated their partnership with the box office hit Aftershock. Released in July 2010, Aftershock: The IMAX Experience was the first Chinese IMAX DMR® title, grossing more than $102 million. Building on this success and capitalizing on the growing IMAX network in the region, the Company has expressed its commitment to releasing additional Chinese films each year.

“We are pleased to once again work with IMAX based on Aftershock’ success. In 2012, we will launch four IMAX films,” said Wang Zhonglei, President of Huayi Bros. “We will constantly strive for excellence and attention to detail in our films and strive to bring more audiences the ultimate movie-going experience.”
“We are delighted to expand our partnership with Huayi Bros. as they share our commitment to showcasing the incredible talent and passion of Chinese cinema,” said Richard L. Gelfond, CEO of IMAX. “Today, we are delivering on our promise to present more local-language titles in IMAX for Chinese audiences to enjoy. We believe this strategy will also create opportunities for IMAX to export these films to other large markets, such as Southeast Asia and North America.”

Using proprietary IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-mastering) technology, the IMAX releases of Tai Chi 0 and Back to 1942 will be digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience® with Tai Chi Hero and Chinese Zodiac digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of An IMAX 3D Experience®. The crystal-clear images coupled with IMAX’s customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie.

About Tai Chi 0 and Tai Chi Hero

Yang Luchan, a young genius, travels to Chen Village to learn the forbidden secrets of martial arts. Threatened by a formidable battalion of Steampunk soldiers, the villagers realize that in order to save their home, they must trust this stranger with their knowledge of Tai Chi.

About Back to 1942

“1942″ is adapted from Liu Zhenyun’s novel “Back to 1942″, chronicling the suffering in China’s Henan province when the then-ruling Nationalist Party was preoccupied with a Japanese invasion and millions of citizens fled their hometown to escape famine. The film follows two storylines: one is that of the famine, centered on the two families of the owner and the tenant, to show their struggle and suffering, hope and anger; another focuses on how the Kuomintang government’s contempt for people exacerbated the disaster, and eventually led to the KMT’s defeat. A rich historical background is provided by real stories of warmth and enduring national tales.

About Chinese Zodiac

Chan plays the role of Asian Hawk, an adventurer traveling around the world to find the 12 Chinese Zodiac statues that were stolen by the French and British armies from the imperial Summer Palace in Beijing in 1860.

About Huayi Brothers Group Ltd.

Huayi Brothers Group Ltd. is one of China’s largest film studios. Described as “China’s Warner Bros of tomorrow” because of its potential in the booming market, Huayi Brothers holds about a 30-40 percent market share in domestic movie production (top 20 films) and 30 percent in movie distribution. Huayi was established by brothers Wang Zhongjun (Dennis Wang) and Wang Zhonglei (James Wang) in 1994. The Wang brothers hold a combined stake in Huayi of more than 50 percent. Other major investors include Tom Group Ltd., Focus Media Holding Ltd., and Yahoo China. The company has solely or jointly produced more than 50 movies since 1998, including award-winning A World Without Thieves (2005) starring Hong Kong actor Andy Lau which produced USD$13.8 mil in China BO, The Banquet (2006) USD$17.6 mil in China BO by famous Chinese director Feng Xiaogang, Assembly (2007) with USD$38.2 mil in China BO also directed by Feng Xaiogang, and If You are the One (2008) with USD$43.8 mil in China BO. Huayi has also worked with Sony Pictures in the past to jointly invest in or produce Chinese movies, some of which target overseas audience markets. Due to the rapid growth of new cinemas in China, Huayi has significantly grown its China BO and has made a name for itself internationally as a producer of quality foreign films. Huayi also runs a variety of other businesses including music recording and agent services for artists. Huayi has begun to build a theatre network in China with plans for 150 to 200 screens within five years.

About IMAX China

IMAX China is a wholly-owned subsidiary of IMAX Corporation, and is incorporated under the laws of Hong Kong. IMAX China was established by IMAX Corporation specifically to oversee the expansion of IMAX’s business throughout Greater China.

SOURCE: IMAX Corporation (11/09/12)

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