IMAX Corporation (NASDAQ:IMAX; TSX:IMX) and ODEON Cinemas Ltd., Europe's largest exhibitor, today announced an agreement to install 2 IMAX(R) theatres in Great Britain. The deal marks IMAX's second European theatre announcement in two weeks, 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.
Under the terms of the sale, ODEON Cinemas will install an IMAX digital projection system at the ODEON Greenwich multiplex in London and another at the ODEON Wimbledon multiplex in South-West London. Both are scheduled to be completed in December 2008.
The economical advantages of IMAX's new digital projection system combined with the ongoing success of our existing IMAX theatre in Manchester has made the decision to expand our IMAX footprint very easy," said Rupert Gavin, CEO of ODEON Cinemas. "The IMAX theatre business has proven to be a very reliable source of incremental attendance and revenue, and the earning potential increases with IMAX digital. We look forward to continued success with IMAX, and we are optimistic about future growth opportunities following the opening of our new IMAX theatres in ODEON Greenwich and ODEON Wimbledon."
"Expanding our relationship with the largest exhibitor in Europe adds to the momentum of our digital growth strategy as we continue to align ourselves with the world's top exhibitors," said IMAX's Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs, Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler. "The United Kingdom has been a very successful market for IMAX, and with ODEON's experience and expertise in the IMAX theatre business, we believe these new locations will strengthen our brand even more."
IMAX box office in the UK has been very strong and continues to grow as more Hollywood studios release event movies in IMAX's format. The region's top performing locations include the ODEON Manchester IMAX Theatre, which reported a 108% increase in annual ticket sales for 2007 over its 2006 performance, and London's BFI IMAX theatre, which has reported more than $1 million in box office for a single film several times.
"The IMAX brand is resonating very well with consumers in the UK and we are confident that it will continue to grow in popularity with ODEON's IMAX expansion and the increasing number of major Hollywood studios getting into the IMAX business," added Larry O'Reilly, Executive Vice President of Theatre Development. "ODEON Cinemas' endorsement of our new digital projection system, which is designed to significantly reduce the operating costs of an IMAX theatre, raises the bar for other exhibitors in the region who are looking to offer an experience that consumers can't get anywhere else."
IMAX's digital projection system delivers 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. The system can run both IMAX and IMAX(R) 3D presentations.
Upcoming IMAX films include:
Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa - DreamWorks Animation
The Day the Earth Stood Still - Twentieth Century Fox
Under the Sea 3D - IMAX / Warner Bros. Pictures
Watchmen - Warner Bros. Pictures / Paramount Pictures / Legendary
Monsters vs. Aliens 3D - DreamWorks Animation
Night at the Museum Battle of the Smithsonian - Twentieth Century Fox
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - DreamWorks Pictures / Paramount
Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince - Warner Bros. Pictures
Hubble 3D (working title) - IMAX / Warner Bros. Pictures
How to Train Your Dragon 3D - DreamWorks Animation
Shrek Goes Fourth 3D - DreamWorks Animation