IMAX Corporation (NYSE:IMAX; TSX:IMX) announced it has signed agreements to open a total of three IMAX® theatre systems into new construction projects across Russia. The Company will install one system each with existing partner Kinomax as well as new partners Monitor and People's Cinema, bringing to 49 the total number of IMAX theatres open or contracted to open in Russia and the CIS.
Monitor, one of Russia's top exhibitors, will install an IMAX theatre in Anapa that is slated to open in July 2012. The local independent operator People's Cinema will install an IMAX theatre in its multiplex in Ulan Ude, which is scheduled to open in September 2013. Kinomax will expand its IMAX footprint and install an IMAX theatre in Samara, which is scheduled to open in September 2013, bringing the exhibitor's total IMAX commitment to five theatre systems.
Since IMAX entered the region in 2003 with its first theatre in Moscow, Russia has become the Company's third-largest market and one of its fastest-growing markets globally. At the end of 2009, IMAX had four theatres in operation and one theatre in backlog in Russia and the CIS. Today, there are 24 theatres open (20 in Russia and 4 in the CIS) with 25 theatres in backlog. The region is also home to some of IMAX's highest-grossing theatres in the world, with a 2011 per-screen average of approximately $1.7 million.
"Today's agreements show the significant traction we continue to make in Russia and we're delighted to forge new partnerships with these leading exhibitors while also expanding on an existing relationship," said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond. "Audiences across Russia have developed a deep appreciation for IMAX and we're pleased to bring more audiences across the region the most immersive movie-going experience available."