Imax breaks $100 million boxoffice in Q4

7:20 AM PST 01/04/2010 by Etan Vlessing, AP

Full-year remastered boxoffice a record $270 million

TORONTO -- Around $54 million in inflated 3D ticket sales for 20th Century Fox's "Avatar" helped Imax for the first time surpass $100 million in quarterly gross boxoffice during the three months to Dec. 31, the giant screen exhibitor said Monday.

As it released official year-end numbers, Toronto-based Imax said its full-year 2009 boxoffice for digitally remastered Hollywood titles surged 108% to a record $270 million, against $130 million in fiscal 2008.

Imax CEO Richard Gelfond said the exhibitor in 2009 delivered around 10% of the boxoffice for the average Hollywood title in its lineup, on fewer than 3% of available screens.

James Cameron's "Avatar" opened locally on Imax screens with a record breaking gross of $9.5 million from 178 screens from Dec. 18 to Dec. 20.

That was followed up by a second weekend gross of around $8.8 million, and a worldwide Imax boxoffice total of $39 million to Dec. 27.

Besides continuing play from "Avatar 3D" in 2010, Imax and Warner Bros. are set to release "Hubble 3D" in limited release in March 2010 and wide release in April 2010.

Imax's 2010 Hollywood release slate also includes from Dreamworks Animation "How to Train Your Dragon 3D" and "Shrek Forever After 3D," "Tron Legacy 3D" and "Toy Story 3 3D" from Walt Disney Studios, Summit Entertainment's "Twilight Saga: Eclipse" and "Inception" from Warner Bros.
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