Imax said South Korea, where it’s putting nine new theatres, is one of its fastest-growing markets and home of its highest grossing screen worldwide.
The pact is the large-format exhibitor’s biggest theater deal in 2020 and comes as the global movie theatre industry seeks to reopen, with South Korea among markets leading the charge. Some 18 IMAX theaters are currently open across there including CGV’s flagship location, CGV Yongsan, which was the top grossing Imax theaters in the world in 2018 and 2019.
Korea has consistently over the past few weeks been one of the top markets in general box office terms as moviegoers return, including this past weekend.
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The two companies have been working together for 15 years with over 185 theaters open or contracted worldwide. Agreements over the past year include deals 58 new theatres — including for 40 in China signed in June 2019. CGV is the largest multiplex cinema chain in South Korea and has branches in China, Indonesia, Myanmar, Turkey, Vietnam, and the U.S.. It is the fifth largest multiplex theater company in the world.
“CGV and Imax both understand that, as audiences around the world return to theatres, they will want to see the remarkable slate of blockbusters ahead in Imax,” said CEO Richard Gelfond. “South Korea and Southeast Asia continue to be strong performers for Imax and leaders in the global reopening of theatres, and this agreement further accelerates our growth in this key area of the world.”
Several theaters included in the agreement will roll out with Imax’s most advanced high-resolution system, IMAX with Laser. The first was installed in South Korea (in Gwanggyo) in January.
Financial terms weren’t disclosed. The agreement includes joint venture, revenue share models in South Korea and hybrid models requiring no net capital commitment from Imax in the other markets.