US-based exhibitor AMC andIMAX Corp. have signed an agreement to install five large-format theatresystems in major markets before the end of 2005.

The joint venture, the firstbetween the two companies, will see the first two cinemas open in June 15, intime to accommodate the cross-platform day-and-date release of two Warner, Batman Begins and Charlie And TheChocolate Factory. The three remaining cinemas will open inSeptember, timed for the release of IMAX title Magnificent Desolation: Walking On The Moon 3D.

AMC and IMAX will share in the cost and profitability of the cinemas,which will be located in megaplexes in Kansas City, Missouri; Detroit,Michigan; Phoenix, Arizona; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Omaha, Nebraska. Eachwill involve the retrofitting of an existing auditorium to allow the screeningof IMAX and IMAX 3D films as well as IMAX DMR titles, re-formatted versions ofconventional 35mm releases.

IMAX co-chairmen and co-CEOsRichard Gelfond and Brad Wechsler saidn in a statement, 'This agreementwith AMC is a watershed transaction, which fills out some of the key mediamarkets in the U.S. with commercial IMAX theatres, and will hopefully furtheraccelerate our already strong momentum with studios, filmmakers and exhibitors."

AMC is the world's secondlargest exhibitor with 3,500 screens worldwide.