Wanda Film and IMAX Expand Strategic Partnership

Wanda Film, China’s largest exhibitor, and IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX), IMAX China (HKSE: 1970) today announced plans to expand their longstanding strategic partnership with a sweeping agreement spanning technology and content.

The agreement will secure and fortify Wanda Film’s leading IMAX footprint — the largest IMAX circuit in China. Under the terms, Wanda Film will upgrade 61 of its top performing locations to state-of-the-art IMAX with Laser technology — including top-grossing IMAX locations in Tier 1 cities Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen. Additionally, Wanda Film will renew up to 37 existing IMAX locations for another five years and, subject to mutual understanding, add up to 25 new IMAX locations over the next three years.

Furthermore, IMAX and Wanda Pictures will also explore opportunities to collaborate on exclusive awe-inspiring content and experiences across documentaries, music, gaming, and sports. IMAX has a longstanding partnership with Wanda Pictures, the company’s production and distribution arm, on feature releases, including 2021’s Filmed for IMAX hit “Detective Chinatown 3.”

“For years, based on our core commitment to elevating moviegoers’ viewing experience, Wanda Film has been a pioneer in adopting and promoting premium projection technology to create a state-of-the-art film viewing environment,” said Ms. Chen Zhixi, Chair of Wanda Film. “We successfully ensured the long-term collaboration with IMAX, a major partner. Alongside our joint efforts in upgrading moviegoing experience, we will work with IMAX to enhance projection standards for a wide range of films, to allow even more moviegoers to discover the wonder and joy of the immersive experience in theatres.

“With a strong, balanced slate of Chinese and Hollywood blockbusters in the pipeline over the next several years, this landmark agreement with Wanda Film fortifies IMAX’s position in China’s largest circuit at a time of immense opportunity,” said Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX. “By securing a renewed commitment from China’s largest exhibitor, IMAX grows its lead as the dominant platform for immersive, cinematic entertainment in China.”

“Under the leadership of Ms. Chen, we’re grateful that Wanda Film is recommitting to IMAX across its top-performing locations,” said Daniel Manwaring, CEO of IMAX China. “We believe the strategic partnership between Ruyi and Tencent can open new doors for Wanda Film and IMAX to collaborate across blockbuster films as well as documentaries and events in music, gaming, and sports.”

The agreement comes as IMAX prepares to unveil a strong summer slate of Chinese and Hollywood films in China, ahead of an anticipated robust content pipeline in 2025 and 2026. The Chinese summer slate in 2024 features Filmed for IMAX release “Decoded” from longtime IMAX filmmaking partner Chen Sicheng. The 2025 global film slate will feature a record 14 Filmed for IMAX releases, including a yet-to-be-announced Chinese tentpole during the pivotal Chinese New Year holiday.

Wanda Film is the largest exhibitor in China and IMAX’s biggest exhibition partner in the world, with 381 IMAX locations in operation and another 19 in backlog. The two companies have enjoyed a successful partnership since 2007, when Wanda opened its first IMAX® location in Dongguan, China. Both sides have since maintained close business cooperation and believe to accomplish partnership in a wider business scope in the future. 

IMAX with Laser is IMAX’s most advanced experience. Immersive by design, IMAX with Laser has been developed from the ground-up to deliver crystal clear, lifelike images and precision audio for a moviegoing experience unlike anything else. It is set apart by a groundbreaking 4k laser projection system that features a new optical engine, custom designed lenses, and a suite of proprietary technology that delivers brighter images with increased resolution, deeper contrast, and the widest range of colors exclusively to IMAX systems. 

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