Imax China Hires CAA Executive Daniel Manwaring as CEO

Imax China Hires CAA Executive Daniel Manwaring as CEO

Imax has named veteran Beijijng-based executive Daniel Manwaring CEO of its Imax China subsidiary.

Manwaring, who has been based in China since 2006 and speaks fluent Mandarin, joins the giant screen exhibitor from CAA, where he spent the past decade, most recently leading the agency’s China Motion Pictures Group. He succeeds interim CEO Jiande Chen, who will return to his full-time role as vice chairman of Imax China, the company said.

Imax China, which trades on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, is a vital piece of Imax’s global business. The company operates some 800 Imax theaters in China — with contracts in place for hundreds more — representing a major slice of the company’s approximately 1,700 screens around the world. After a tough year for China business due to the country’s strict “zero COVID” policies, Manwaring joins the exhibitor at an exciting moment, with health restrictions being lifted and James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water set for local release Friday.

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“Across his successful, decade-long tenure at CAA, Daniel has proven very adept at fostering blockbuster Chinese filmmaking that connects with audiences — a talent that will serve IMAX well as we strengthen our unique position at the center of the entertainment ecosystem in China,” said Rich Gelfond, CEO of Imax. “Daniel’s expertise, creativity, and years of working with Chinese filmmakers, the China Film Bureau, and top film finance and distribution companies will be deeply valuable to Imax China as we look to grow our industry leadership in this powerful cinema market.”

At CAA, Manwaring represented some of China’s top filmmakers and led CAA’s media finance in the region, putting together more than a dozen local and Hollywood films for release in Chinese theaters. He also played a key role in architecting financing and distribution entities in the region. Not mentioned in Imax’s official communications about the executive appointment were Manwaring’s strong personal connections to the Chinese film industry. He is married to Chinese filmmaker Zhang Mo, the daughter and frequent collaborator of renowned Chinese director Zhang Yimou. 

“As a longtime believer in the power of movies and the irreplaceable magic of the theatrical experience, I am thrilled to join Rich and the team at Imax China to further expand this great business, foster new opportunities for growth and diversification, and deepen its connection with Chinese consumers,” Manwaring said in a statement.