IMAX And China's Huayi Bros. Group Expand Film Partnership
Tai Chi 0, Tai Chi Hero, Back to 1942 and Chinese Zodiac Set to Open in IMAX® Theatres Across China in 2012
Companies Commit to a Total of Eight Films Under Partnership
BEIJING and NEW YORK, Sept. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 0andTai 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.
AboutHuayi 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.
About IMAX Corporation IMAX Corporation is one of the world's leading entertainment and technology companies, specializing in the creation and delivery of premium, awe-inspiring entertainment experiences. With a growing suite of cutting-edge motion picture and sound technologies, and a globally recognized entertainment brand, IMAX is singularly situated at the convergence of the entertainment industry, innovation and the digital media world. The industry's top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and as such, the IMAX network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe. The Company's new digital projection and sound systems - combined with a growing blockbuster film slate - are fueling the rapid expansion of the IMAX network in established markets such as North America, Western Europe, and Japan, as well as emerging markets such as China and Russia. IMAX deliver the world's best cinematic presentations using proprietary IMAX®, IMAX® 3D, and IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-Mastering) technologies. IMAX DMR enables virtually any motion picture to be transformed into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience®.
IMAX is headquartered in New York, Toronto and Los Angeles, with offices in London, Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing. As of June 30, 2012, there were 663 IMAX theatres (529 commercial multiplex, 20 commercial destination and 114 institutional) in 52 countries.
This press release contains forward looking statements that are based on IMAX management's assumptions and existing information and involve certain risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by such forward looking statements. Important factors that could affect these statements include, but are not limited to, general economic, market or business conditions, including the length and severity of the current economic downturn, the performance of IMAX DMR films, the opportunities that may be presented to and pursued by IMAX, competitive actions by other companies, conditions in the in-home and out-of home entertainment industries, the signing of theatre system agreements, changes in law or regulations, conditions, changes and developments in the commercial exhibition industry, the failure to respond to changes and advancements in digital technology, the failure to convert theatre system backlog into revenue, new business initiatives, investments and operations in foreign jurisdictions and any future international expansion, the inability to protect IMAX's intellectual property foreign currency fluctuations and IMAX's prior restatements and the related litigation. These factors and other risks and uncertainties are discussed in IMAX's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and most recent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q.