UPDATE 6:30 AM PT: IMAX has released full details of its joint venture with TCL, including that their new premium home theater system is expected to launch in China and other select markets in 2015. A full press release follows the earlier story below.
PREVIOUS: IMAX is due to announce later today that it has set up a joint venture with China’s TCL Multimedia Technology Holdings Limited to develop and manufacture $250,000 home theater systems in the booming country. IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond tells The New York Times the decision to partner with TCL was primarily because IMAX expects China to be its largest market. Low production costs were also a factor, but not the driver, he said. China is especially ripe for premium home-entertainment given it does not have a window restriction on the release of films in formats suitable for the systems. Also, despite the quota on foreign movies that are distributed theatrically, the latest Hollywood movies are widely available on DVD and in other formats, which, the NYT says, prompts families “to spend heavily to see them at home in style.” Gelfond said the new systems would not hurt box office. “The cost of this is not at a price point that threatens the theatrical community,” he said. TCL and IMAX have a pre-existing relationship: TCL bought naming rights to Hollywood’s Chinese Theater earlier this year and IMAX has its largest auditorium there. On Monday, IMAX said it had acquired a stake in PRIMA Cinema Inc to expand its home entertainment offering. As part of the deal IMAX will have a five-year window of exclusivity to distribute and resell PRIMA systems in China. Read More »
A week after China’s TCL Group paid $5 million for naming rights to Hollywood Boulevard’s iconic Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the company has moved to place its smartphones in Marvel Entertainment’s Iron Man 3, which has been filming in China. The company hopes to raise awareness of its smartphones in the global market dominated by Samsung and Apple, according to Bloomberg. The product-placement deal will have Robert Downey Jr.’s character Tony Stark using TCL products in his battle with the Mandarin. Real-world features such as handheld devices interacting with TV, will be replicated in the movie. In addition to phones and TVs, TCL also makes camcorders and appliances. Like its Chinese rivals ZTE, Huawei Technologies and Lenovo, TCL’s goal is to increase sales and brand credibility against better-known competitors.
The Hollywood cultural and historic landmark opened in 1927 by Sid Grauman will now be called TCL Chinese Theatre under the 10-year, $5 million deal with Chinese TV firm TCL Group. As part of the agreement, TCL will help fund improvements to the property and has agreed to sponsor a national and international marketing campaign to promote Hollywood and the iconic theater, according to the LA Times. “This is one of the landmarks of North America,” said Hao Yi, vice president of TCL Group. “It can be a bridge to link the cultures of China and North America.” The deal gives TCL, the world’s fourth-largest manufacturer of flat-panel TVs, an opportunity to gain a foothold in the U.S. This isn’t the first name change for the venerable theater. Ted Mann bought the cinema house in 1973 and for nearly 30 years it was called Mann’s Chinese Theatre. Warner and Viacom acquired the theater after the Mann chain filed for bankruptcy. Chinese Theatre, LLC acquired The Chinese Theatre and the Chinese 6 Theatres from Mann Theatres on May 27, 2011.