The stock is up 4.4% in pre-market trading, indicating that investors like the large screen theater company’s $80M transaction with Chinese investment fund CMC Capital Partners and private equity firm FountainVest Partners. The deal should expand IMAX‘s opportunities in one of the film world’s fastest growing markets. The company says it expects the transaction with CMC and FountainVest to lead to an IPO of IMAX China so it can raise funds to continue its growth there. And in a country where personal connections are critical, IMAX touts the opportunity to take advantage of CMC chief Ruigang Li’s “knowledge of the Chinese media and entertainment industry.” IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond says that it “makes sense to bring in Chinese investors to help us better address local market dynamics and further optimize our business in China, including both our core theatre business as well as new business initiatives such as the home theatre joint venture we announced last year with TCL.” IMAX China will pay IMAX a licensing/marketing fee to use the brand, potentially enabling IMAX to cut its capital spending outlays by $15M a year, Stifel analyst Benjamin Mogil estimates. He believes that could enable the company to return cash to shareholders, either through a dividend or by repurchasing shares, and “likely ensures that the company continues to receive favorable treatment regarding film quotas in the region.”
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It was definitely a happy Chinese New Year for IMAX on Friday. The giant-screen exhibitor said local-language hit The Monkey King grossed $1.8M on January 31, breaking China‘s opening-day IMAX record of $1.5M set by Iron Man 3 last year. The 3D martial-arts pic from Filmko Pictures and China Film Group took in $20M throughout China on Day 1, also breaking IM3′s mark. IMAX said its Chinese theaters took in $4.5M for the three-day holiday weekend. New Year celebrations continue through the week.
Related: Wanda Cinema Line Adding 80 IMAX Theaters In China
Imax Expanding In China With Revenue-Sharing Deal
China will get 15 more Imax theaters under a revenue-sharing agreement between Imax and Korea’s CJ CGV Holdings. The first of the theaters will be installed this year, with the other 14 set for completion between 2013 and 2017. The agreement makes CJ CGV the second-largest Imax exhibitor in Asia and the fourth-largest in the world. “CJ CGV has proven an excellent exhibition partner for Imax in the Asia Pacific region, and we are delighted to continue working with them as they expand their network in China,” said Imax China’s recently hired CEO Jiande Chen. CJ CGV operates South Korea’s largest multiplex cinema chain with 655 screens at 81 sites nationwide.
Arab Spring Entries Flood In For Dubai Film Fest
This year the Dubai International Film Festival is sifting through a large selection of submissions that reflect the Arab Spring. The festival said that overall it received more than 1,700 shorts, features and documentaries from 106 countries. They include films from Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria — all of which have been part of this year’s wave of demonstrations and uprisings in the Middle East. The largest contributor of films this year was India, followed by France, Iran, then Egypt and the U.S. Programmers will announce the final selection in the coming weeks. The Dubai fest is set to run Dec. 7-14.
Simon Cowell Tries To Deflect Flak From ‘Red Or Black?’
The music and TV mogul said today “human error” was to blame after a man who did time for domestic abuse, Nathan Hageman, won the £1M jackpot on the game show’s opening night. Producer Cowell said that ITV bosses were “delighted” with Red or Black? despite the cloud over the debut and predicted that the show would be in 30 territories –-including the US-– within 12 months. He described as “disgusting” the allegations of violence against a woman, but stopped short of urging Hageman to hand back his jackpot. “I know what I would do,” he said. “I would give away part of the money to the person he had the altercation with and a charity.” Also today, news emerged that ITV ordered a pilot episode of Red or Black? eight years ago, but decided the skill-free format wouldn’t work. “I didn’t believe people would like to see someone win a vast sum of money, with no skills at all involved. Second, gambling is not a spectator sport, you get an adrenaline rush from participating in it,’ said ITV’s Claudia Rosencrantz, who commissioned the pilot. Cowell, whose X Factor debuts in the U.S. on Fox on Sept. 21, was not involved with the show then.
Hollywood Going Beyond Bollywood With Indian Releases
It’s natural to think of Bollywood when the subject of Indian film comes up. But India’s film industry is among the world’s … Read More »