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China now best IMAX market

Giant screen specialist IMAX says that China will soon be its best market, passing North America in terms of revenues. China already has more IMAX screens that North America.

CEO Richard Gelfond, speaking on Bloomberg TV, said that it is looking to develop more partnerships in China, and screens in India are also making progress.

One recent movie, Zhang Yimou’s The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon, attracted $66 million-worth of box office on its opening weekend in China, the third biggest-ever, and IMAX took a sizeable chunk of that revenue. And Gelfond expects more this coming weekend with Star Wars: Rogue One opening in China on January 6th.

Chinese revenues for IMAX are up around 3 per cent on 2015, but currency fluctuations have trimmed some of that benefit.  IMAX has 371 screens in China. Overall, IMAX has 1145 screens around the world.

Gelfon told Bloomberg that the 2017 slate of films looked really good for IMAX, and would be further helped by the number of blockbuster releases scheduled. China permits 34 US movies a year to be exhibited in the country.

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