IMAX Corporation (NASDAQ:IMAX; TSX:IMX) and Rising Star Media, Russia's leading international theatrical exhibitor, today announced an agreement to expand their relationship by adding an additional IMAX location in Moscow following the success of the exhibitor's first three IMAX locations in St. Petersburg and Moscow. The new IMAX® theatre is scheduled to open in January 2011, bringing the total number of IMAX theatres scheduled to be in operation in Russia by 2012 to thirteen. With this new IMAX theatre contract signing, IMAX has signed deals for 104 IMAX systems year-to-date, which compares to 35 system signings in all of 2009.
The announcement follows a string of exceptional box office performances from Rising Star's IMAX screens in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia, which operate to the public under the KinoStar name. The recent releases include Disney's Alice in Wonderland, DreamWorks Animation's Shrek Forever After and Disney's Toy Story 3.
"It is clear that there is consistently strong interest and demand for The IMAX Experience® among our patrons," said Paul B. Heth, Chief Executive Officer of Rising Star Media. "The tremendous, market leading box office grosses of our Kinostar venues with IMAX and the impressive line-up of Hollywood films scheduled for release in IMAX's format makes this the right time to expand our relationship. We look forward to delivering The IMAX Experience to even more of our customers and further capitalizing on the revenue generating potential of the IMAX theatre business"
"We remain focused on expanding our IMAX footprint around the world and particularly in powerful new markets like Russia," said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond. "We are pleased to continue to grow in this country with such an excellent exhibition partner and we're optimistic that we can continue to grow our relationships, and capitalize on our strong film slate, with Rising Star Media and others in the Russian market."
Mr. Gelfond continued, "This has been a year of unprecedented growth for the international IMAX network. We believe the momentum we are experiencing, combined with our strong film slate and attractive business model, gives us increased visibility into our future growth and we look forward to continuing to expand with both new and existing exhibition partners in the months and years ahead."
"Rising Star Media is one of the leading exhibitors in Russia, and their decision to add another IMAX location serves as a great endorsement of our business model," added Larry T. O'Reilly, IMAX's Executive Vice President, Theatre Development. "It is always encouraging to have an existing partner add more IMAX locations, and we are very excited to work with them to build on the tremendous success they have already had with the IMAX business."