UK media group Carlton Communications is pushing into giant-screen formats by acquiring US film processor Consolidated Film Industries (CFI), Carlton announced on Monday (March 6).

Carlton's film processing subsidiary, Technicolor, acquired CFI from its parent Continental Graphics for $48m in cash. CFI specialises in giant-screen and large film formats including IMAX.

Carlton said last year that it would sell Technicolor as part of its proposed merger with fellow UK media concern United News & Media.

The acquisition of CFI follows the spectacular box-office success of IMAX film Everest and Walt Disney Co's launch of Fantasia 2000 in the format. Carlton said that there are now more than 200 IMAX cinemas in over 25 countries, with more than 80 IMAX films in development or production.