[HONG KONG] IMAX China Holding, which made its stock-market debut in Hong Kong this week, is launching an in- home entertainment system targeting wealthy Chinese who would rather stay home to watch movies. The cost: a mere US$400,000.
IMAX, which started trading on Thursday on the Hong Kong stock exchange after an initial public offering that raised HK$1.92 billion (S$346.8 million), is teaming up with Chinese manufacturer TCL Multimedia Technology Holdings Ltd. to provide screens 20-feet wide and 10-feet high, projectors and sound systems. Seats and popcorn dispensers are not included.
"There are so many people that have high-end villas and have money and love movies," Richard Gelfond, chief executive officer of IMAX Corp, said in a telephone interview from New York. "The same day that a Bond film comes out you can see it in your home."
China is set to overtake the US in terms of numbers of screens in 2017 as well as at the box office. IMAX had 221 screens in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan at the end of June and backlog of 217, according to the company prospectus.
The US$400,000 price tag is a fraction of the US$1.2 million a wealthy acquirer paid in Los Angeles to purchase an IMAX system sold to commercial theaters. The buyer had to build a separate house to make room for the system, which included a 60-foot screen, Mr Gelfond said.