IMAX Corporation (NASDAQ: IMAX; TSX: IMX) today announced that Gaumont Pathé Movie Theatres (EuroPalaces), the leading exhibitor in France and one of the most prominent exhibitors in Europe, has signed an agreement to install four new IMAX digital theatre systems at premier EuroPalaces locations in Paris/Périphérie, and three regional cities throughout France.
The new locations will be structured as joint ventures between IMAX and the exhibitor, with each location scheduled to be installed at the end of June 2010.
The deal was signed following the success of EuroPalaces' Gaumont Disney Village IMAX theatre in Paris, which was recently upgraded with an IMAX digital projection system, as well as the success of the exhibitor's three IMAX joint venture theatres in The Netherlands which operate under the Pathé theatre circuit in the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Eindhoven. With these four new theatres, EuroPalaces will operate a total of eight IMAX theatre systems with three in The Netherlands and five in France.
Richard L. Gelfond, Chief Executive Officer of IMAX, made the announcement at a press conference this morning in Paris at the Ritz Paris.
"Our IMAX theatres in France and The Netherlands have increased admissions in each of the complexes where they are located, demonstrating firsthand that consumers are seeking out The IMAX Experience as the best way to see a movie," said Franck Lebouchard, Managing Director of EuroPalaces. "It is clear to us that there is a strong demand for The IMAX Experience in France, particularly with the new catalog of movies (Harry Potter, Avatar, Alice in Wonderland)."
"We are pleased to be expanding our partnership with EuroPalaces, one of the most prominent and respected exhibitors in Europe, which increases our availability to consumers, provides a larger platform for great films and builds on the momentum and the overall growth of the IMAX network in the region," said Mr. Gelfond. "Our digital projection system continues to gain traction worldwide, and we believe EuroPalaces' increasing stake in the IMAX business will fuel even more interest from other exhibitors in other markets
in Europe and around the world. We're looking forward to continued success with them as we enter this joint venture partnership and expand our relationship."
"Gaumont and Pathé are brands that are associated with top-notch multiplexes, which makes them an ideal joint venture partner for IMAX," added Julian Stanford, IMAX's general Manager Theatre Development for Europe, Middle East and Africa. "We're both committed to delivering the best movie experiences and with these new locations more people in France will be able to experience the world's greatest movies in the most powerful and immersive way."
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.