Imax Expands Partnership With Wanda Film In China To Upgrade, Add Theaters

Imax and Wanda Film, China‘s largest exhibitor, have announced a big expansion of their longtime strategic partnership there spanning technology and content.

The agreement calls for Wanda Film to upgrade 61 of its top performing locations to state-of-the-art Imax with Laser technology including in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Wanda will also renew up to 37 existing Imax locations over five years and could add up to 25 new Imax locations over the next three years. Wanda already has the biggest Imax footprint in China.

Imax with Laser is the company’s most advanced experience in terms of image and precision audio.

The large format exhibitor said it will also work with Wanda Pictures (the conglomerate’s production and distribution arm) to explore content and experiences across documentaries, music, gaming, and sports. Imax’ partnership with Wanda on features includes hit Detective Chinatown 3 (2021).

“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 Wanda Film chair Chen Zhixi. “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 Imax CEO Rich Gelfond. “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.”

Wanda Films is partly controlled by China Ruyi holding, which is backed by social media and videogame giant Tencent

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 Imaxrelease Decoded from longtime Imax filmmaking partner Chen Sicheng.

The 2025 global film slate will see a record 14 filmed for Imax releases, including a yet-to-be-announced Chinese tentpole over the key Chinese New Year holiday.

Wanda Film Imax’s biggest exhibition partner globally with 381 Imax locations in operation and another 19 planned..

The two companies have worked together since 2007 when Wanda opened its first Imax location in Dongguan, China.

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