Tokyo, Japan - IMAX Corporation (NASDAQ:IMAX; TSX:IMX) and Tokyu Recreation, the owner of 109 Cinemas (10 is "To" and 9 is "kyu"), today announced a new joint venture agreement to install five digital IMAX® theatre systems in Japan. The agreement builds on the success of IMAX's current joint venture partnership with the exhibitor, which includes four IMAX theatres that were installed in 2009. Those existing IMAX screens have posted consistently strong box office performance with Hollywood IMAX releases, including Twentieth Century Fox's Avatar, which grossed $8 million on the four Tokyu IMAX screens. For the release of Avatar, the 109 Cinemas IMAX location in Kawasaki ranked as Japan's highest grossing screen. The three other Tokyu IMAX screens in Nagoya, Minoh and Shobu have shown significant improvements on their national rankings since their IMAX systems were installed. Disney's Alice in Wonderland opened on Saturday in Japan, setting a new Japanese IMAX box office record, with the four Tokyu IMAX screens generating a total of $335,882 in only 2 days.
Under the terms of the new deal, five new IMAX systems are scheduled to be installed in 109 Cinemas locations by June 2012, with the first two expected to be installed in November 2010 in the greater Tokyo area. The deal brings the total number of IMAX commercial multiplex theatres in Japan to nine, up from the four that are currently open. IMAX believes that its presence in Japan could grow significantly larger over time.
As with the previous joint venture agreement, IMAX and Tokyu Recreation will share the cost and profitability of the new theatres. Each theatre will be equipped with IMAX's new digital projection system.
IMAX Chief Executive Office Richard L. Gelfond joined executives from Tokyu Recreation in Tokyo, Japan to announce the new theatre signings.
"The performance of our four joint venture IMAX theatres has been very strong, increasing our market share and delivering an incredible consumer experience that is simply the best way to see event films," said Hitoshi Sato, President of Tokyu Recreation. "We are pleased to further our commitment to IMAX by adding five new theatres that will serve even more consumers in key markets throughout Japan. IMAX is an important and valuable partner for our company and we look forward to even more financial and operational success together."
"We are very excited to build on the success of our four current joint venture theatres with Tokyu Recreation, our first major exhibition partner in Japan, one of the most important entertainment markets in the world," said Mr. Gelfond. "Our Tokyu joint venture theatres are among our highest performing IMAX locations, and this success, combined with being associated with a top Japanese exhibition brand, is contributing significantly to the increased visibility of our own brand with consumers and exhibitors in the market."