UltraStar Cinemas, a U.S.-owned movie theatre group, and Letian Entertainment, a subsidiary of China’s most influential broadcast network, have announced the formation of a joint venture to develop and operate theatres in China. The companies say they will work together in the design, development, construction and operations of digital cinemas and related entertainment facilities throughout China.
The partnership is intended to advance the country’s cinema industry, bring more screens to Chinese audiences, and leverage advanced cinema technologies for the highest quality movie going experience. Hunan Broadcasting Station, parent company of Letian Entertainment, is the second largest broadcast network in China with 2012 revenues of 16.3 billion RMB ($2.6 billion USD).
The companies are currently on track to complete construction of three cinemas by the end of 2013, with plans to build an additional 40 cinemas by the end of 2016. The theatres will be located in the Changsha area of the Hunan province and comprise approximately 10 screens each with all-digital projection, 3D capabilities and concessions. In addition to traditional movie fare, the theatres will offer additional entertainment options via alternative content. Chinese audiences will be able to enjoy concerts, sporting events, musicals, operas and other cultural events on the big screen utilizing digital cinema capabilities.
“With the growing urbanization trend, the Chinese population continues to move from rural areas to densely populated cities,” said John Ellison, president of UltraStar Cinemas. “This presents a long-term opportunity to grow the movie industry in China as a whole and implement cinema technologies and concepts that have been successful here in the United States. We are thrilled to be working with Letian Entertainment, long recognized as one of China’s entertainment industry leaders, as their U.S. partner in this groundbreaking initiative.”
“UltraStar Cinemas is a well-established American theatre group with over 50 years of history, a wealth of industry resources, and global leadership in digital cinema technology,” said Huidong Liu, chairman of Letian Entertainment. “Letian Entertainment is a new Chinese cultural enterprise that spans across the film and television industries. Our unique and revolutionary business model in China has enabled exponential growth and rapid expansion of the national cinema market. The collaboration between Letian and UltraStar is a visionary one, following the trend of globalization. The Chinese film market is growing rapidly as an industry, enabling UltraStar to bring capital, technology, and branding from a highly saturated market to a high-growth market. Both parties are committed to leveraging complementary resources, capabilities, and interaction between Chinese and American industry to create a competitive edge in the market and the global film sector.”