KUALA LUMPUR: A glitzy star studded event was held on Sunday (Feb 25) to mark the opening of the first cineplex outside of China by Beijing-based Bona Film Group at Resorts World Genting in Malaysia.
The Bona Film Group is the largest film distributor in China and currently operates more than 200 screens in 50 locations across major cities in China.
"The opening of this cineplex, the first outside China, is of great significance because this is the first time a homegrown Chinese movie distributor has invested overseas," said Bona Cinema chairman Wang Yi.
The new cineplex has four cinema halls with an additional 48-seat VIP cinema and a 250-seat IMAX theatre ready for opening in August this year.
Group chairman Yu Dong, who attended the opening, said he hopes to see more Bona Cinema outlets in Malaysia, including one in Kuala Lumpur, in the near future.
"We are filmmakers, he said. “I have finished making 20 movies – and I hope to release them this year and bring more Chinese mainland actors and actresses to meet audiences in Malaysia and Singapore."
Hit action film Operation Red Sea, which debuted in China on Feb 16, was screened at the cineplex’s opening. To date, the movie has grossed more than US$330 million in China.
Almost US$80 million was spent to produce the movie, which was shot in Morocco directed by Dante Lam from Hong Kong.
"I am confident that the movie will hit half a billion dollars in takings and will be well received in both Malaysia and Singapore,” said Yu.
"China is the second largest movie market in the world. In 2017 alone, China's box office takings hit US$9.1 billion."
Yu believes it is just a matter of time before China will be able to match the US in annual box office takings of US$11 billion. “I believe we can realise that dream in three years,” he said.
The group has produced and distributed over 200 domestic and international films with a cumulative box office of more than US$30 billion.
Founded by Yu in 1999, Bona Film Group was the first film and television company to receive a film distribution license from Chinese government. In 2010, it became the first Chinese film company to be listed on Nasdaq.
But Yu withdrew the listing in 2015 over a valuation issue and the group is now planning to list in Shenzhen later this year.
"The IPO is progressing well; we will make an announcement at the right time,” he said.