IMAX Corporation IMAX through its Chinese subsidiary, IMAX China Holding, has entered into a full revenue sharing deal with Sichuan Lumiere Pavilions Company Ltd. (“Lumiere”) to further tap into the booming Chinese entertainment market. Under the agreement, Lumiere will add 10 new IMAX theatres by the end of 2019. Notably, this takes the total count of Lumiere IMAX to 19 theatres. The new theatres will be located in Tier One and Tier Two cities across China in popular locations such as shopping malls.
Lumiere has made a name for itself and presently operates over 30 fully-owned multiplex cinemas with more than 230 screens in over 20 cities in China.
Along with the new deal, IMAX announced the release of four Chinese movies in more than 290 IMAX theatres across the nation, this summer. Interestingly, these movies will be digitally re-mastered in the IMAX format.
Rapid Expansion and Growth in China
The aforesaid deal is in line with IMAX’s aim to further strengthen its foothold in China’s rapidly developing movie market, which displays significant commercial potential. Lately, IMAX has been garnering a significant chunk of revenues from China and intends to make the country its largest market. To this end, IMAX inked a 40 theatre revenue sharing agreement with Guangzhou JinYi Media, this May. Prior to this, the company signed an agreement for the installation of 10 theatres across China with Shanghai Aurora Movie Co., Ltd in April.
IMAX intends to install 1000 theatres across China. The country’s tremendous growth momentum has compelled several analysts to believe that it will surpass the U.S. movie market by 2019–2020.
As mentioned by Richard Gelfond, Chief Executive Officer of IMAX, the company’s signings in China soared 171% year over year in the first quarter of 2016. Recently, the company garnered high revenues from the American fantasy movie, Warcraft.
IMAX China Holding began trading on the Hong Kong Stock exchange in Oct 2015 as part of the entertainment company’s efforts to expand its presence in the country’s lucrative movie market.
Worldwide Expansion and New Virtual Reality Product
IMAX has been actively expanding to other parts of the world. The company struck deals with Pathé, the leading theater chain operator across France, Netherlands and Switzerland. Also, the company entered into agreements with Japan’s leading retailer – AEON Entertainment Co. Ltd. – as well as India’s leading theater chain operator, INOX Leisure Limited.
IMAX has been capitalizing on the latest technology in the entertainment industry to support its growth efforts. The company announced plans to launch a Virtual Reality (“VR”)-based theatre offering this year. These apart, it inked a deal with Alphabet Inc.’s GOOG Google to develop next-gen, high-grade, 3-D, 360-degrees cameras.
Zacks Rank and Stocks to Consider
IMAX currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Investors interested in the broader Consumer discretionary sector may also consider stocks like Cablevision Systems Corporation CVC and MSG Networks Inc. MSGN. While Cablevision Systems sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), MSG Networks Inc. holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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