Imax, AMC enlarge N. American theatre deal

Agreement to install at 15 - 25, new giant screen theatres

TORONTO -- Imax's 2007 blockbuster theatre deal with AMC Entertainment just got bigger.

Imax's largest exhibition partner has signed a new joint venture (JV) agreement to install at least 15, and up to 25, new giant screen theatres in the North American market.

The deal builds on an original 2007 agreement, which has AMC rolling out 104 Imax theatres in North America by the end of 2010, 79 of which are in operation.

The latest 25 new potential Imax theatres will be launched by AMC in 2011 in both existing and untapped markets.

Toronto-based Imax introduced its JV theatre model, where partners share the cost and profitability of new theatres, to entice smaller chains to acquire its super-sized screens after larger players like AMC and Cineplex Galaxy Income Fund in Canada bulked up on its screens.

AMC expects to be running between 125 and 135 Imax theatres when its current roll out is complete.

Imax also extended the term of its JV agreement for AMC Imax theatres from seven to 10 years, and adjusted allocation costs to help AMC defray increased operating costs.

The enlarged AMC deal also means Imax expects to build out its North American network of giant screen theatres beyond the 400 venues originally targeted.

"We are pleased to expand our relationship with Imax, a valued partner in offering our guests the best out-of-home entertainment experience," AMC president and CEO Gerry Lopez said Tuesday.
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