Imax signs first JV theatre deal in Europe

MUMBAI: Imax and Austrian exhibitor Cineplexx Kinobetriebe have announced a joint venture agreement to install three Imax theatres in Austria. The deal marks Imax‘s first joint venture in Europe, and continues the company‘s global expansion with its new digital projection system.

To date, Imax has signed contracts for more than 180 Imax digital projection systems, with 18 currently in operation and a total of 45-50 scheduled to be in operation by year-end.

The first theatre is expected to be installed in the city of Graz during the first quarter of 2009, followed by a location in Vienna the second quarter of 2009 and a third location in the city of Hohenems during the fourth quarter of 2009. All three theatres will be equipped with Imax‘s new digital projection system.

Cineplexx Kinobetriebe MDs Christian Langhammer and Christof Papousek said, "Installing IMAX theatres in our multiplexes is an enormous benefit for our business and our customers as it enables us to offer a premium immersive movie experience that consumers will be delighted to have in Austria.

"Imax‘s new digital projection system, which can be retrofitted into our existing auditoriums, combined with Imax‘s joint venture business model, offers us an economical and highly efficient way to enter the IMAX business."

Imax‘s co-chairmen and Co-CEOs, Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler said, "This joint venture agreement is an important first step for our digital growth strategy in Europe. We believe a partnership with Austria‘s leading exhibitor will help to strengthen our brand in the region and expand our audience base during a time when our film slate and interest from Hollywood studios is at an unprecedented level."

Imax‘s digital projection system delivers The Imax Experience and helps drive profitability for studios, exhibitors and Imax theatres by eliminating the need for film prints, increasing program flexibility and ultimately increasing the number of movies shown on Imax screens. The system can run both Imax and Imax 3D presentations.

Upcoming Imax films include Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa and The Day the Earth Stood Still which release later this year.

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