WB building cinema chain
US-based Warner Brothers International Cinemas and Guangzhou Jinyi Film and Television Investment Co Ltd yesterday announced a partnership to develop modern cinemas of international standard in this South China business hub.
According to the co-operative agreement, both parties plan to develop 10 state-of-the-art multiplex theatres in Guangzhou and other cities in China, including Beijing, Xiamen, Hangzhou, Fuzhou and Xi'an.
Warner Brothers will provide comprehensive technical support including design, construction, training and management for all projects, according to Millard L Ochs, president of the company.
Since China has gradually opened up its film market to the outside world, Warner Brothers International Cinemas is the first overseas cinema company to enter the Chinese market.
Warner Brothers opened its first Chinese cinema, the Shanghai Yonghua Cinema, in Shanghai in January 2003.
In addition, in January 2004 the company signed a co-operative pact with Wanda Group in Dalian, a coastal city in Liaoning Province.
Warner Brothers and Wanda Group have already opened two cinemas in Wanda Shopping Centres in Tianjin and Nanning.
"Guangzhou Jinyi Film and Television Investment Co Ltd becomes our third partner in China," Ochs said.
"In addition, we are looking forward to more partnerships in the Chinese film market,"
As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc, Warner Brothers International Cinemas is a leader in the global cinema exhibition business.
It operates around 100 cinemas with over 820 screens in six countries and regions.
In 2003, the company enjoyed an audience of approximately 60 million and its box office exceeded US$540 million.
Guangzhou Jinyi Film and Television Investment Co Ltd is an investment company jointly held by Guangzhou Performance Company and Guangzhou Jiayu Real Estate Development Company.
Guangdong Zhujiang Cinema Circuit, a holding company of Guangzhou Performance Company, is among the top seven of the 35 cinema circuits in China.
"This is an important step in our ongoing plan to bring state-of-the-art cinemas to Chinese moviegoers," Ochs said.
"We believe that by building modern theatres across China, we are not only serving the mass audience but really helping enhance the development of the entire Chinese film industry," he said.