IMAX Corporation (NASDAQ:IMAX; TSX:IMX) and Regal Cinemas, Inc., a subsidiary of Regal Entertainment Group, the world's largest theatre circuit, today announced a joint-venture agreement to install 31 IMAX(R) Digital projection systems at Regal locations in 20 major U.S. markets. The theatres will feature IMAX's Digital projection system which is being developed for the IMAX MPX(R) theatre design. The 31 IMAX(R) theatres announced today will expand the joint venture partnership between IMAX and Regal Cinemas to 38 theatres, and bring Regal's total number of IMAX theatres to 52 by the end of 2010.
Under the terms of the joint venture agreement, IMAX and Regal Cinemas will share the cost and profitability of the new theatres. The first group of theatres is expected to open in time for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince: The IMAX Experience, which opens on November 21 of this year.
"We are pleased to expand our IMAX relationship with additional sites, and we're excited to introduce IMAX's Digital projection system to Regal audiences in key markets throughout the United States," stated Greg Dunn, President and COO of Regal Entertainment Group. "Greg Foster, Rob Lister and Phil Groves were instrumental in working with Regal's IMAX Team to complete this agreement."
"Regal is one of the best theatre operators in the world and they have set a benchmark for marketing and drawing audiences to IMAX theatres, as indicated by the results of our existing theatres in Regal locations," said IMAX's Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs, Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler. "We are extremely pleased to be expanding our relationship in such a significant way, and we are excited about the new locations in cities throughout the U.S."
The highly anticipated IMAX Digital projection system will further enhance The IMAX Experience(R) and help to drive profitability for studios, exhibitors and IMAX theatres by virtually eliminating the need for film prints, increasing program flexibility and ultimately increasing the number of movies shown on IMAX screens.
IMAX has already secured important parts of its film slate for 2008, 2009 and 2010 through agreements with major Hollywood studios including: The Spiderwick Chronicles (in theatres now), Shine A Light (April 4, 2008), Speed Racer (May 9, 2008) Kung Fu Panda (June 6, 2008), The Dark Knight (July 19, 2008), Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (November 21, 2008), Under the Sea 3D (February 2009), Monsters vs. Aliens 3D (March 2009), Hubble 3D (working title, February 2010), How to Train Your Dragon 3D (March 2010), and Shrek Goes Fourth 3D (May 2010).