(March 4, 2002- Burbank, CA and Shanghai) - Warner Bros. International Theatres has entered into a definitive agreement with two in-country partners in China to open a nine-screen multiplex theater in Shanghai and with the assistance of Shanghai Paradise Co. Ltd. will be applying for final approval from the Central Government in Beijing and the Shanghai municipal authorities. Today’s announcement was made by Barry Meyer, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Warner Bros., and Millard Ochs, President, Warner Bros. International Theatres. Scheduled for its gala opening April 12, the 1490-seat, nine-screen multiplex cinema marks the first entry into the Chinese market by a major theatrical exhibitor. The cineplex will be owned and operated as a joint venture of Warner Bros., Shanghai Paradise Co. Ltd. and Broadband Investment Limited of Hong Kong. “We began planning this project last year in anticipation of the dynamic changes that will occur now that China has joined the WTO,” said Meyer. “Projects such as this will fuel the growth of the Chinese film business and help realize the vast potential of this as yet untapped market.” “Based on our experience in developing the multiplex concept in other territories around the world, we have found that venues such as this one provide the spark that triggers growth not only in the exhibition arena, but also in the entire film industry,” said Ochs. “As a result of China joining the WTO, industry experts predict a two-fold increase in the number of films to be imported into China this year alone, and the response to such recent films as ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ indicates an upsurge of interest by Chinese filmgoers for the theatrical experience,” said Ellen Eliasoph, Senior Vice President, Corporate Investments & Business Affairs, Warner Bros. Asia/Pacific. Shanghai is a particularly important theatrical market in China. While it only represents about 1% percent of China’s population, it accounts for 12% 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. 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, cutting-edge technology and is to be designed as a completely immersive Warner Bros. entertainment experience, with numerous scenic and design elements featuring the stars of Warner Bros.’ world-class library of movie and animation properties. One of the complex’s key scenic elements will be 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 legends Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable. Shanghai Paradise is Shanghai’s leading film distributor, with its distribution and exhibition circuit accounting for approximately 90% of the total box office earned annually by both foreign and domestic films in Shanghai. Shanghai Paradise’s in-depth knowledge of the audience and marketing techniques also secure its position as a leading exhibitor, operating 140 screens, representing 90% of the total commercial screens in Shanghai. Shanghai Paradise’s association with Warner Bros. began in 1992 when Shanghai Paradise helped Warner Bros. start a dialogue with the central government regarding the importation and distribution of foreign films. This association led to Warner Bros’ 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.’ various distribution divisions have maintained very strong relationships with Shanghai’s film and television companies and governmental authorities. Warner Bros. International Theatres is one of the pioneers of multiplex development for the international marketplace, with 138 multiplex cinemas and over 1,300 screens worldwide. Innovative in design and equipped with the latest technology, Warner Bros. International Theatres provide the ultimate movie-watching experience to over 80 million moviegoers visiting Warner Bros. Cinemas each year in Australia, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Spain, Taiwan, the UK and now, China.
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