The newly renovated Shanghai Film Art Center, one of the largest cinemas in China and an iconic cultural landmark in the city for over 30 years, will reopen on June 8 with multiple functions and serve as the main site for the 25th Shanghai International Film Festival from June 9 to 18.
Built in 1991, the theater located at the intersection of Xinhua and Panyu roads in downtown Changning District has borne witness to the flourishing and rapid development of Chinese cinema.
The renovation started in early 2022. Before that, the theater had already hosted about 1,000 special film screenings and conferences.
It also welcomed numerous film celebrities including Italian actress Sophia Loren, French actresses Sophie Marceau and Juliette Binoche, and US actress Meryl Streep and actor Edward Norton.
The renovated theater is equipped with an intelligent cinema control system and electronic control management system to support new digital functions of a "smart cinema," such as unmanned screening and automatic scheduling.
The lobby of the cinema is equipped with a huge LED canopy 29 meters long and 6 meters wide, which has naked eye 3D effects and immersive stereo for trailers of blockbuster movies and new fashion releases.
Its main screening hall, the No. 1 hall that can seat around 1,000 viewers, has been refurbished and upgraded with 980 single seats, some double seats for couples, and a special seating area for the disabled. The hall now has a new name – the SFC Dolby Auditorium.
Dolby Laboratories has also customized the hall with the Dolby Vision Laser Projection System and the Dolby Atmos Immersive Audio System. It is also the first innovative space in Asia with more than 1,000 seats that can provide the Dolby immersive audio-visual experience.
The hall will be used for grand film premieres and important film events of the film festival. In 2016, local film buffs packed the hall when Oscar-winning director Ang Lee's film "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" premiered on the Chinese mainland with a perfect presentation of 3D, 4K and 120fps technologies.
A large spiral staircase has been added, which can lead directly to the No. 1 hall on the second floor.
"The hall will be the venue for many premieres in the future, and this spiral staircase will also facilitate the crew to lay the red carpet and arrange relevant entrance ceremonies," said Wang Jian'er, chairman of Shanghai Film Group and the renovation project's commander in chief.
The No. 2 hall has been newly equipped with a 4K resolution Onyx LED screen and exclusive sound system, as well as a specially customized retractable movable seat system. When all the seats are stored, the hall will transform into a 500-square meter "black box theater," which is an immersive multi-dimensional cinematic space.
The No. 3 hall will remain a gathering place for professional filmmakers. The upgraded Dolby Atmos system will provide an immersive cinemagoing experience and adapt to the latest special effects and technologies in movies.
The No. 5 and 6 halls, located on the fifth floor, are designed as a professional film review hall with the support of 4K high contrast HDR projection technology to meet the viewing needs of professional audiences such as judges and filmmakers.
The No. 9 and 10 halls will also be dedicated to exploring cross-border innovation scenarios. In order to meet the diverse cultural, social entertainment needs of contemporary audiences, especially young groups, the two halls will break the traditional boundaries of film screening and offer high customization services such as live streaming of sports events.
"The theater will focus on movies and develop a diverse ecosystem that integrates art, culture, entertainment and fashion," Wang added. "It will explore and lead various cutting-edge formats of technology and art."