Imax signs first joint venture theatre deal in Europe

Mumbai: Imax Corporation and Austria’s Cineplexx Kinobetriebe Gmbh have inked a joint venture agreement to install three Imax theatres in Austria.
The deal marks Imax’s first joint venture in Europe. 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.
The first theatre is expected to be installed in the city of Graz during the first quarter of 2009, followed by a location in Vienna in the second quarter of 2009 and a third location in the city of Hohenems during the fourth quarter of 2009. All three theatres will be equipped with Imax’s new digital projection system.
"Installing Imax theatres in our multiplexes is an enormous benefit for our business and our customers as it enables us to offer a premium immersive movie experience that consumers will be delighted to have in Austria," said Cineplexx Kinobetriebe managing directors Christian Langhammer and Christof Papousek. "Imax’s new digital projection system, which can be retrofitted into our existing auditoriums, combined with Imax’s joint venture business model, offers us an economical and highly efficient way to enter the Imax business."
"This joint venture agreement is an important first step for our digital growth strategy in Europe," said Imax co-chairmen and co-CEOs Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler. "We believe a partnership with Austria’s leading exhibitor will help to strengthen our brand in the region and expand our audience base during a time when our film slate and interest from Hollywood studios is at an unprecedented level."
"There is significant potential for us in this virtually untapped market, where we can align ourselves with the country’s top exhibitor to offer a whole new way to experience movies," added Theatre Development executive vice president Larry O’Reilly. "With Cineplexx Kinobetriebe’s well-known marketing expertise, combined with Hollywood’s biggest event movies and the Imax brand, we believe this joint venture partnership is a natural fit for Imax."
Imax’s digital projection system delivers The Imax Experience. The system can run both Imax and Imax 3D presentations.