Warner Bros, part of the US media and communications giant AOL Time Warner, wants to build a chain of cinemas in China, said Millard Ochs, president of Warner International Theaters. He explained the aim was to give patrons an experience that they could not get watching films at home by taking a small, scruffy Chinese cinema and upgrading it to a comfortable Western-style multiplex.
In 2002 Warner entered a joint venture to run the nine-screen, 1,500-seat Shanghai Paradise Cinema. It only has a minority stake in that theatre, in line with current regulations. However, government officials have recently indicated that they would consider foreign majority ownership of cinemas and Warner is now discussing with its current partner, state-owned Shanghai Media &
Entertainment Group, the possibility of new cinema joint ventures in Shanghai that Warner would control.