Imax has expanded its alliance with Japanese exhibition giant Aeon Entertainment with a two-theatre deal.
New cinemas equipped with laser projection systems will go to Aeon Cinema Ichikawa Myoden outside Tokyo and Aeon Cinema Shijonawate near Osaka, both prime retail locations. The Japanese deal follows Imax and Thai exhibitor Major Cineplex expanding their own partnership with a deal for three new Imax theaters with laser systems in the Southeast Asian market and comes amid a rebound in the Asian box office.
“From its growing global portfolio of blockbusters to outsized box office returns, Japan is a thriving market for cinema with some of the most passionate Imax fans in the world,” Imax CEO Richard Gelfond, in a statement as CinemaCon in Las Vegas kicked off. gear.
In 2016, Aeon Entertainment signed its first giant-screen cinema deal with Imax, which targeted Japan for growth as the third-highest-grossing theater market in 2021. Imax tripled its network in Japan during the last decade, going from 13 screens in 2011 to 39 today.
“We are thrilled to expand our partnership with Imax, an innovative technology for groundbreaking cinematic experiences that will bring even more value to our theaters,” added Yasuhiro Asada, President and Representative Director of Aeon Entertainment, in a statement. .
Imax’s box office recovery in Japan is largely due to the showing of local films. Imax raked in a record $32.6 million at the global box office with Japanese-language releases in 2021, up from $2.5 million in 2017.
Japanese anime has been a particularly strong area of growth for Imax, since the recent Jujutsu Kaisen 0 to the 2020s demon slayer, the highest-grossing Imax film of all time in Japan. Upcoming Japanese titles hitting Imax screens include Toho’s Detective Conan: Halloween’s Bride, Shin-Ultraman and Toei Dragon Ball Super: Super heroes.