United Cinemas to open five Imax theaters

Deal brings total of Imax theaters to open in Japan to eight

TORONTO -- Japanese exhibitor United Cinemas has ordered as many as five digital theater systems from Imax Corp.

The joint venture agreement will see the Sumitomo Corp. subsidiary open an initial three Imax theaters by early 2011, with an option for another two super-sized screens to enter the Japanese cinema-going market.

Toronto-based Imax in April unveiled a similar joint venture, five-theater deal in Japan with Tokyu Recreation, which operates the 109 Cinemas circuit.

Joint venture deals have Imax and exhibition partners sharing the cost and profitability of new theaters, which are equipped with digital projection systems.

The United Cinemas deal brings the total number of confirmed joint-venture Imax theaters set to open in Japan by the end of 2010 to eight.