IMAX China Holding Inc. announced this week it would expand its partnership with CGV Holdings Ltd. to open 40 new IMAX theaters across China to further tap the country’s fast-growing premium film screening market, China Daily reported.

The new IMAX theaters will feature IMAX laser projection systems.

This collaboration is expected to leverage the two companies’ resources and promote premium screenings to a wider market in China, IMAX executives said.

“We are excited to expand our partnership with CGV and make our premium screening experience available to more of China’s passionate movie-going audience,” IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond said.

“Building on the momentum we saw during Chinese New Year and strong demand for Hollywood and local language blockbusters alike, IMAX China continues to generate solid growth at the box office and across our theater network in 2019,” he said.

IMAX China’s bet on sci-fi hit The Wandering Earth brought it over 300 million yuan (US$43.6 million) in box office receipts, after a strong performance in 2018 to the tune of US$337 million, up 16% year-on-year.

This massive showing turned out to be a revenue spinner for the company. It reported full-year revenue of US$117.5 million in 2018 and profit of US$75.3 million, the report said.

As of July 14 this year, IMAX China has reported over US$1.6 billion yuan in box office receipts, a 35% increase year-on-year.

Such a performance marks a stark contrast with China’s lower-than-expected box office market. Data from the National Radio and Television Administration showed box office receipts were 31.17 billion yuan, down 2.7% year-on-year.

Jim Athanasopoulos, CFO of IMAX China, said he is pleased with the company’s box office gross last year and the first half of this year, the report said.

“A growing number of Chinese consumers are seeking premium film-watching experiences, and we are working to deliver quality and differentiated content — things Chinese audiences want to see and enjoy,” Athanasopoulos said.

“We see that continuing in the future, and that’s why we made the expansion plan to tap China’s fast-growing premium film screening market,” he added.