IMAX Corp. and SM Prime Holdings, the largest mall operator in the Philippines, have signed a deal that will see two IMAX digital projection systems installed at shopping malls in the cities of Manila and Cebu. Both cinemas are expected to open by late 2009.

SM already operates an IMAX cinema in Manila - installed in 2006 - that is the highest grossing screen in the country. Patrons pay as much as a 100 per cent premium for certain shows.

In a statement, IMAX co-chairmen and co-CEOs Richard Gelfond and Brad Wechsler pointed to Philippines as an exemplar in the growth of IMAX's international market. 'SM Prime Holdings is the largest mall operator and commercial developer in the country, and we believe our partnership with them provides a great opportunity to reach the widest possible audience in this important market.'

IMAX has a strong slate of Hollywood titles in the distribution pipeline through to 2010, including The Spiderwick Chronicles (February 2008), the Rolling Stones concert film Shine A Light (April 2008), Kung Fu Panda (June 2008), The Dark Knight (July 2008), Under The Sea 3D (working title, February 2009), Monsters vs. Aliens 3D (March 2009), How to Train Your Dragon 3D (November 2009), Hubble 3D (working title, February 2010) and Shrek Goes Forth 3D (May 2010).