China Lion pursues America: AMC Entertainment courts Chinese moviegoers with monthly imports
Exhibition giant AMC has met global giant China in an exclusive deal forged with China Lion Distribution Inc., which is providing features from the world’s number-two economic power to the United States’ number-two theatre chain.
As size and potential matter in any business, it’s clear that attention must be paid: The 2010 census estimates that the Asian population in the U.S. is 17.3 million, of which the Chinese are the largest, fastest-growing segment. Additionally, there are growing numbers of Chinese nationals working and studying in North America (and even hiding, if we dare go there).
In its early stages, the China Lion/AMC partnership, established last fall, plans to deliver up to 15 Chinese films per year to AMC screens in U.S. and Eastern Canadian cities with large Chinese populations. To date, four different titles have each gone to about two-dozen AMC screens in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Houston, Boston and Seattle, and, in Canada, Toronto and Ottawa. (China Lion is also partnered with Cineplex in Vancouver and with Consolidated Theatres in Hawaii.)
Not surprising for so young a venture, the results for the four pictures haven’t been startling, but, to spin on an oft-quoted movie line, the initiative looks like the beginning of what could be a beautiful friendship.