Imax signs theatre deal with Europe’s largest exhibitor

Mumbai: Imax Corporation has inked a deal with Odeon Cinemas Ltd., Europe’s largest exhibitor, to install two Imax theatres in Great Britain. The deal marks Imax’s second European theatre announcement in two weeks, and continues the Company’s global expansion with its new digital projection system. 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.

Under the terms of the sale, Odeon Cinemas will install an Imax digital projection system at the Odeon Greenwich multiplex in London and another at the Odeon Wimbledon multiplex in South-West London. Both are scheduled to be completed in December.

"The economical advantages of Imax’s new digital projection system combined with the ongoing success of our existing Imax theatre in Manchester has made the decision to expand our Imax footprint very easy," said Odeon Cinemas CEO Rupert Gavin. "The Imax theatre business has proven to be a very reliable source of incremental attendance and revenue, and the earning potential increases with Imax digital. We look forward to continued success with Imax, and we are optimistic about future growth opportunities following the opening of our new Imax theatres in Odeon Greenwich and Odeon Wimbledon."

"Expanding our relationship with the largest exhibitor in Europe adds to the momentum of our digital growth strategy as we continue to align ourselves with the world’s top exhibitors. The United Kingdom has been a very successful market for Imax, and with Odeon’s experience and expertise in the Imax theatre business, we believe these new locations will strengthen our brand even more," said Imax co-chairmen and co-CEOs Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler.

Imax box office in the UK has been very strong and continues to grow as more Hollywood studios release event movies in Imax’s format. The region’s top performing locations include the Odeon Manchester Imax Theatre, which reported a 108% increase in annual ticket sales for 2007 over its 2006 performance, and London’s BFI Imax theatre, which has reported more than $1 million in box office for a single film several times.

"The Imax brand is resonating very well with consumers in the UK and we are confident that it will continue to grow in popularity with Odeon’s Imax expansion and the increasing number of major Hollywood studios getting into the Imax business. Odeon Cinemas’ endorsement of our new digital projection system, which is designed to significantly reduce the operating costs of an Imax theatre, raises the bar for other exhibitors in the region who are looking to offer an experience that consumers can’t get anywhere else," added Theatre Development executive vice president Larry O’Reilly.

Imax’s digital projection system delivers The Imax Experience and helps drive profitability for studios, exhibitors and Imax theatres by eliminating the need for film prints, increasing program flexibility and ultimately increasing the number of movies shown on Imax screens. The system can run both Imax and Imax 3D presentations.