IMAX inks 5 theatre JV with Regal Cinemas

MUMBAI: IMAX Corporation and Regal Cinemas, Inc., a subsidiary of Regal Entertainment Group, the world’s largest theatre chain, today announced a joint venture agreement for five IMAX theatre systems. The deal includes the first North American order for IMAX’s digital projection technology, which is currently in the advanced stages of development. The five IMAX theatres announced today will expand the joint venture partnership between IMAX and Regal Cinemas to seven, and bring Regal’s total number of IMAX theatres to 21 by the second quarter of 2009.

Under the terms of the joint venture agreement, IMAX and Regal Cinemas will share the cost and profitability of the new theatres. Two IMAX MPX theatres will be operating before the end of 2007 in Knoxville, TN and Las Vegas, NV. The remaining three theatres are to utilize IMAX’s digital projection technology, and are expected to be installed during the fourth quarter of 2008 and second quarter of 2009 in Seattle, WA and two other locations in the western United States. The film-based systems will be upgraded to IMAX’s digital system when it is available. The deal marks the second multiple IMAX digital theatre agreement in as many weeks.

“Just six months ago, we entered a two-theatre JV agreement to install IMAX theatres in Portland and San Diego,” stated Mike Campbell, CEO of Regal Entertainment Group. “The early results have been very strong, prompting us to expand this relationship. We were particularly pleased with our analysis of the digital system IMAX is developing, which delivers an engaging and immersive experience that makes us very comfortable with their next generation product.” 

“Regal Cinemas has been one of the best IMAX operators in the world, and the results of our first joint ventures reflect their talents,” said IMAX’s Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs, Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler. “We are extremely pleased to be expanding our relationship, and we are excited about the new locations. We are also encouraged by how impressed Regal executives were with the digital system we are developing, and their subsequent commitment to include this new technology moving forward.” 

IMAX’s fall/winter film slate includes Transformers, the highly anticipated Robert Zemeckis film Beowulf in IMAX 3D on November 16, and the next big Will Smith adventure, I Am Legend on December 14.