(July 10, 2003 – Burbank, CA) - The Chinese government has granted final approval for Paradise Warner Cinema City, Warner Bros. International Cinemas’ multiplex theater in Shanghai, a joint venture with Shanghai Paradise Co. Ltd and Broadband Investment Limited of Hong Kong. Barry Meyer, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc, Alan Horn, President and & Chief Operating Officer, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Millard Ochs, President, Warner Bros. International Cinemas made the announcement today with Ren Zhonglun, President of Shanghai Paradise’s parent, the Shanghai Film Group and Tong Weiming, Broadband Investment Limited of Hong Kong. Scheduled for a gala opening on July 12 with the worldwide hit “The Matrix Reloaded,” the 1490-seat, nine-screen Paradise Warner Cinema City multiplex theater will prominently feature the Warner Bros. Cinemas logo as a design element and such internationally recognized icons as the Studio’s Looney Tunes animated characters, marking the first time the a major U.S. theatrical company has been allowed to extensively brand an in-country venue in China. “Paradise Warner Cinema City is a historic step toward bringing world-class quality films to Chinese audiences and to realizing the untold potential of the Chinese marketplace,” said Meyer. “Our goal is to bring the ultimate movie-going experience to the Chinese audience with a state-of-the-art facility and the finest American and ‘in-country’ films,” said Horn. “Our venture with Warner Bros. is an integral part of the Shanghai Film Group’s initiative to transform Shanghai’s film exhibition environment and maintain Shanghai’s position as the leading film market in China,” said Ren Zhonglun. The cineplex, which will screen both local and imported films, is located in the Xujiahui district of Shanghai on the top floor of one of the city’s largest shopping malls, the Grand Gateway. The venue employs state-of-the-art equipment and cutting-edge technology and has been designed as a completely immersive Warner Bros. Entertainment experience, with numerous scenic and design elements featuring the stars of Warner Bros. Studios’ world-class library of movie and animation properties. One of the complex’s key scenic elements is a large mural of the Bund (the historic Zhongshan Road) in which Chinese movie stars Jackie Chan and Gong Li stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of screen legends Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable. “This is an exciting time in Chinese cinema,” said Ochs. “There is clearly a hearty appetite for films in China. In anticipation of the day when we would receive government approval to invest in this venture, we assisted Shanghai Paradise from the early stages with the complex’s design and technical specifications, as well as with training of management and operations personnel. We’ve been greatly encouraged by the operating results, both in terms of admissions and revenue generation, achieved by the complex in its initial period of operations prior to our entry as a shareholder. These results have further convinced us that venues such as this represent the future of China’s exhibition environment and open up a world of new possibilities for filmmakers and distributors.” Shanghai is a particularly important theatrical market in China. While it only represents about 1% percent of China’s population, it accounts for 18% of the country’s total theatrical box office. Historically, the Shanghainese audience has also been China’s trendsetter in the consumption of both domestic and imported films. Shanghai Paradise is a division of the Shanghai Film Group. In addition to its film production assets, Shanghai Film Group controls Shanghai’s United Film distribution and exhibition circuit, which accounts for approximately 80% of the total box office earned annually by both foreign and domestic films in Shanghai. The United Film Group operates 126 screens, representing 75% of the total commercial screens in Shanghai. Shanghai Paradise’s association with Warner Bros. Studios began in 1992 when Shanghai Paradise helped Warner Bros. Studios start a dialogue with the central government regarding the importation and distribution of foreign films. This association led to Warner Bros. Studios’ signing with the China Film Group in 1994 the first film distribution agreement in China to be signed by a major Hollywood studio. Broadband Investments Limited is an operator of restaurants and leisure establishments with its primary focus on Shanghai, where it currently operates 15 restaurants and a variety of other leisure establishments. Prior to 1949, Warner Bros. ran its Chinese distribution business from Shanghai. In 1986, Warner Bros. Pictures co-produced Steven Spielberg’s “Empire of the Sun” with the Shanghai Film Studio. Over the last decade, Warner Bros. Studios’ various distribution operations have maintained very strong relationships with Shanghai’s film and television companies and governmental authorities. Warner Bros. Studios has also recently become actively involved in Chinese-language film production. In December 2002, Warner Bros. Pictures announced its first-ever Chinese-language film, “Turn Left, Turn Right,” written and directed by Johnnie To and Wai Ka-fai, one of Hong Kong’s leading writing and directing teams. Also in late 2002, Warner Bros. Studios entered into an agreement with PRC-based production company Century Heroes and a Hong Kong-based partner, Salon Films, for the joint development, production and distribution of “Swordsmen of the Passes” a slate of 10 Mandarin-language made-for-television movies shot in high-definition digital video. Warner Bros. Entertainment, a fully integrated, broad-based entertainment company, is a global leader in the creation, production, distribution, licensing and marketing of all forms of entertainment and their related businesses. An AOL Time Warner Company, Warner Bros. Entertainment stands at the forefront of every aspect of the entertainment industry, from feature films to television, home video/DVD, broadcasting, animation, comic books, product and brand licensing, interactive services and international cinemas. Warner Bros. International Cinemas is one of the pioneers of multiplex development for the international marketplace with multiplex cinemas in Italy, Japan, Spain and Taiwan.
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