IMAX Corporation (NASDAQ:IMAX; TSX:IMX) and Hoyts Cinemas Ltd., one of the largest exhibitors in Australia, today announced a joint venture agreement to install four IMAX(R) theatres in the cities of Perth, Melbourne and Sydney. The deal marks the Company's first international joint venture deal featuring the Company's new IMAX(R) Digital theatre system and doubles IMAX's footprint in Australia. To date, IMAX has signed contracts for more than 180 IMAX(R) Digital theatre systems, with approximately 50 scheduled to be installed by the end of 2008.
Under the terms of the joint venture agreement, IMAX and Hoyts Cinemas will share in the cost and profitability of the new theatres. The first three theatres will be installed at the Entertainment Quarter 12 in Sydney, the Highpoint 17 in Melbourne and the Carousel 16 in Perth. These openings are scheduled to coincide with the Australian launch of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince in December of this year. The fourth theatre will be installed in Melbourne in 2009.
"IMAX is a widely recognized and very successful brand in Australia, and we are excited to open these locations in partnership with IMAX to offer our customers the world's most immersive cinema experience," said Delfin Fernandez, CEO of Hoyts Cinemas. "IMAX theatres offer a cinematic experience that people can't get at home or in a conventional theatre, and this unique offering has proven to drive incremental attendance at the multiplex. Additionally, the IMAX Digital projection system eliminates the need for film prints, which significantly lowers operating costs and enables us to offer our customers a wider range of IMAX content."
"Entering into a partnership with one of the largest exhibitors in Australia is a fantastic way to initiate our international JV business, and it adds to the momentum of our overall digital growth strategy," said IMAX's Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs, Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler. "Hoyts is a top-notch exhibitor with a commitment to innovation and expansion, and we believe this partnership will strengthen our presence in the region."
The highly anticipated IMAX Digital projection system further enhances The IMAX Experience(R) 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.
IMAX's film slate for the remainder of 2008, 2009 and 2010 includes:
The Dark Knight - Warner Bros. Pictures - July 18, 2008
Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa - DreamWorks Animation - November 7, 2008
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - Warner Bros. Pictures - November 21, 2008
Under the Sea 3D - Warner Bros. Pictures - February, 2009
Monsters vs. Aliens 3D - DreamWorks Animation - March, 2009
Hubble 3D (working title) - Warner Bros. Pictures - February, 2010
How to Train Your Dragon 3D - DreamWorks Animation - March, 2010
Shrek Goes Fourth 3D - DreamWorks Animation - May, 2010