IMAX & CJ CGV Co ink joint venture deal for 15 theatres in Korea

MUMBAI: Korean theatre exhibitor CJ CGV Co has signed an agreement to install up to 15 new digital IMAX theatre systems, with the rollout scheduled to begin later this year.

The deal also includes upgrading of four existing film-based IMAX theatres to digital systems. The agreement was signed following the success of the exhibitor’s five existing IMAX locations in Seoul, Daegu and Gwangju, where the current IMAX 3D release of Avatar has generated more than $6.5 million.

"Our IMAX theatres are boosting attendance and driving more traffic to our multiplexes, which positively impacts our bottom line. IMAX’s digital theatre system and joint venture model improves the economics of the IMAX theatre business for us, which creates even more opportunities to expand our relationship and offer more customers The IMAX Experience at more locations," said CJ CGV chief executive officer Kim Joo Hyung.

Under the terms of the agreement, CJ CGV will add 10 new joint venture locations in the major cities of Korea with an option to increase that number to 15. The rollout of new locations is expected to begin later this year. Additionally, the exhibitor will upgrade four of its existing IMAX film-based locations, which are not structured as joint ventures, to IMAX’s digital projection system. The upgrades will bring the exhibitor’s total digital IMAX (non-JV) locations to five, and the exhibitor’s total combined IMAX tally to a minimum of 15. The upgrades are likely to be completed by the end of April 2010.

"Demand for The IMAX Experience is increasing in South Korea, a market we believe holds great potential, especially as we expand our overall presence in the Asia-Pacific region. Our international growth strategy is based on building momentum with existing successful relationships. We’ve been in business with CJ CGV for five years, and we are very pleased to expand with such a strong exhibitor," said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond.

"CJ CGV has marketed the IMAX brand in creative and tailored ways that have generated more consumer awareness in Korea, and we’re now seeing that awareness translate into greater demand and further growth. We are looking forward to sharing future success with CJ CGV as it expands its IMAX footprint in South Korea," added IMAX executive vice president, theatre development Larry O’Reilly.

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