IMAX inks 100-theatre deal with AMC Ent

MUMBAI: IMAX Corporation and AMC Entertainment Inc., have inked a joint-venture agreement to install 100 IMAX digital projection systems at AMC locations in 33 major US markets.


AMC’s initial 50 IMAX digital locations include: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa and Washington D.C.


The theatres will feature IMAX’s digital projection system, which is being developed for the IMAX MPX theatre design. The agreement is projected to double IMAX’s current commercial theatre footprint in North America and accelerates the momentum behind IMAX and AMC’s transition to digital projection technology.


“We are committed to delivering a premium entertainment experience by offering a menu of entertainment alternatives inside our facilities. Our expanded relationship with IMAX and the deployment of its state-of-the-art, next-generation digital projection systems is a key part of our strategy of continuing to broaden and enhance the AMC experience. It also builds on the successful partnership we have had with IMAX since June of 2005 and complements our overall digital plan,” said AMC Entertainment Inc chairman and CEO Peter C. Brown.


The rollout of the first 50 IMAX digital projection systems will begin in July 2008 at premier AMC theatre locations in 24 of the 33 selected markets, with an additional 25 scheduled for rollout in 2009 and 25 more in 2010. The IMAX theatres are slated to be installed in many of AMC’s top-performing locations in the United States, including: AMC South Barrington 30, Chicago; AMC Mesquite 30, Dallas; AMC Gulf Pointe 30, Houston; AMC Century City 15, Los Angeles; AMC Empire 25, New York; AMC Neshaminy 24, Philadelphia; AMC Eastridge 15, San Francisco; AMC Hoffman Center 22, Washington D.C.


“The agreement cements a partnership between two great brands. Partnering with AMC in a theatre deal of this size and scope is a transformational moment for our company from both a financial and strategic perspective. We couldn’t be more pleased that The IMAX Experience will be more accessible to consumers in nearly every major market in the United States. AMC is unique in the number of successful, stadium-seat megaplexes in locations that could accommodate this large number of new IMAX theatres. Further, AMC’s confidence in our digital projection system is a terrific endorsement. We look forward to rolling out our ground-breaking new technology and delivering the premium experience that moviegoers have come to expect from the IMAX brand,” said IMAX co-chairmen and co-CEOs Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler.


In October of this year, IMAX announced that it had moved up the launch date of its digital projection system to mid-2008 from its previously announced anticipated timeframe of the end of 2008 to mid-2009. The IMAX digital projection system will further enhance The IMAX Experience 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 Hollywood studios including: The Spiderwick Chronicles (February 2008), Shine A Light (April 2008), Kung Fu Panda (June 2008), The Dark Knight (July 2008), Deep Sea-quel 3D (working title, February 2009), Monsters vs. Aliens 3D (March 2009), How to Train Your Dragon 3D (November 2009), Hubble 3D (working title, February 2010) and Shrek Goes Forth 3D (May 2010).


Added Messrs. Gelfond and Wechsler, “An agreement of this magnitude significantly jumpstarts our joint venture initiative, which we expect will generate increased recurring revenues for IMAX going forward. AMC’s decision to enter into this agreement will accelerate the growth of our theatre network in North America and should help power the digital transition underway at our company, which we believe will help drive our operating and financial performance for years to come.”