Mumbai: Imax Corporation and Tokyu Recreation announced a joint venture agreement to install up to four Imax theatres in Japan.
The agreement marks Imax’s second international joint venture deal, as the company aligns itself with top exhibitors worldwide with its new Imax Digital theatre system. To date, Imax has signed contracts for more than 180 Imax Digital theatre systems, with approximately 50 expected to be installed by the end of 2008.
The announcement followed a record-setting event in Japan, where 25,000 people, the largest Imax audience ever for a single screening, enjoyed the Japanese premiere of Speed Racer on June 29 at the Tokyo Dome. The Tokyo Dome, which is a traditional venue for concerts and sporting events, was converted into a huge Imax theatre for the event.
Under the terms of the joint venture agreement, Imax and Tokyu Recreation will share the cost and profitability of the new theatres. The first theatre is scheduled to be installed at the 109 Cinemas Kawasaki in November followed by another in early 2009 at the 109 Cinemas Shobu.
Each theatre will be equipped with Imax’s new digital projection system. The third and fourth systems are subject to mutual agreement on sites, projected rates of return and certain other factors.
"Imax’s new digital theatre system offers us the best of both worlds – we can deliver an immersive cinematic experience that cannot be replicated at home or in a conventional theatre, and we can enjoy the economical and logistical benefits of a digital theatre system," said Tokyu Recreation president Hitoshi Sato.
"Over the past four decades, people in Japan have recognized the Imax brand as being synonymous with the world’s most immersive cinematic experience, and we are excited to become a part of that prestigious recognition, as our locations transform into destinations for consumers who want to see Hollywood’s biggest movies in the most powerful format," he further added.
"Exhibitor response to our Imax Digital system has been extremely positive in North America and now we’re starting to see increasing enthusiasm internationally," said Imax’s Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs, Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler. "Japan is an important market for Imax, and we believe this partnership, combined with our new digital theatre system, will serve as a catalyst for further expansion into commercial markets."