IMAX Corporation (NASDAQ: IMAX; TSX: IMX) today announced an agreement with Giencourt Investments S.A., a member of the RACIMEC International Group (RACIMEC) to purchase and install 35 IMAX(R) Digital projection systems in Central and South America and the Caribbean over the next six years. The agreement marks the largest international theatre deal, and second largest overall theatre deal, in IMAX's history, following on the heels of AMC's 100-theatre North America deal announced in December.
Under the terms of the agreement, RACIMEC will provide an initial down payment and a firm commitment to install a minimum of 35 IMAX theatres with fixed payment dates and opening dates. RACIMEC plans to contribute the IMAX theatre systems to its partners - developers, exhibitors and other entertainment operators - for negotiated economic terms and work with them to identify the best locations based on market demographics and cultural trends, ultimately building a substantial network of IMAX(R) theatres throughout the region.
"This important partnership with RACIMEC will result in a robust network of IMAX theatres in South and Central America," said IMAX Co-CEOs and Co-Chairmen Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler. "RACIMEC is a well-respected business innovator, and we are thrilled to expand our relationship with them at this level. As the industry moves toward digital and developers as well as exhibitors seek new ways to attract moviegoers, we are confident that RACIMEC's experience and expertise are an ideal match for increasing IMAX's presence in this critical market."
"Based on the growing network of successful IMAX theatres and the introduction of IMAX's digital projection system, we believe this is a perfect time to aggressively develop the South and Central American and Caribbean markets, said Miguel Sfeir, President of RACIMEC International Group. "We want to capitalize on the momentum IMAX has with its pending digital projection system and its robust array of Hollywood content to bring the ultimate movie-going experience to consumers in this part of the world."
In 2005, RACIMEC signed a deal to install three IMAX theatre systems into new entertainment retail developments in Chile and Venezuela. Two IMAX theatres are being built and developed in Santiago, Chile, in addition to one in Caracas, Venezuela, and all are expected to open by mid-2009.
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), 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 Forth 3D (May 2010).