Imax unveils new Regal 25-theatre deal

Expanding an original 2008 joint venture agreement

TORONTO -- Continuing to bet on 3D cinema, Regal Entertainment Group on Friday ordered up to 25 more Imax theatres to get it to, in all, 77 super-sized screens.

The joint venture deal will see Knoxville-based Regal acquire an initial 16 Imax screens for the U.S. market, with an option to go to 25.

Imax and Regal are expanding on an original 2008 joint venture agreement which committed both partners to 39 theatres, 34 of which are now in operation.

Regal also agreed to upgrade eight of its existing film-based Imax theatres to newer digital projection technology.

The latest joint venture Regal-Imax theatres will be installed by the end of 2012 in diverse markets that include New Mexico, Oregon, Virginia and Georgia.

"We take pride in offering our customers a unique, differentiated out-of-home entertainment experience, and we are pleased that Imax will continue to be a key component of our premium strategy," Amy Miles, CEO of Regal Entertainment, said in a statement.

Joint revenue arrangements call for Imax to receive a share of a theatre's box office and concession revenues in exchange for placing a theatre system into an exhibitor's multiplex.

"This is an important expansion of our relationship with our long-time partner Regal that builds on the success of our existing joint venture theatres," Richard L. Gelfond, CEO of Imax, said in his own statement.