IMAX Corporation has signeda deal to install six IMAX theatre systems in US sites owned by internationalexhibitor National Amusements Inc, with the possibility of a further 12 systemsover the next several years, predominantly in the UK.
Four theatre systems arescheduled to be installed by the end of the year in National Amusement sites atCity Centre 15: Cinema de Lux in White Plains, New York; Showcase CinemasBuckland Hills, near Hartford, Connecticut; Showcase Cinemas Stonybrook, inLouisville, Kentucky; and Showcase Cinemas Springdale, near Cincinnati, Ohio.
The plan is to have thesystems up and ready in time for the November release of Warner Bros animatedextravaganza The Polar Express,which will play on select IMAX screens.
Two additional systems areset to open at US sites in 2005, with a further 12 optioned to commenceconstruction next year, when the focus will be on the UK as part of NationalAmusements' expansion plans in the territory.
All 18 potential theatreswill deploy IMAX's MPX technology, specifically designed by the company toenable multiplex operators to add an IMAX theatre to a new or existingmultiplex.
"National Amusements iscommitted to providing our patrons the ultimate movie going experience,"National Amusements president Shari E Redstone said in a statement.
"Our new Cinema de Luxbrand, our focus on alternative entertainment and this new IMAX technology weare now introducing will ensure that our patrons have an entertainmentexperience that is unrivalled elsewhere."
"We are extremely pleased toexpand our relationship with National Amusements, one of the mostforward-looking exhibitors in the world," IMAX co-chairmen and co-chiefexecutive officers Richard L Gelfond and Bradley J Wechsler said in a jointstatement.
"This multiple theatrecommitment from National Amusements confirms our belief in the potential ofIMAX theatres in commercial multiplexes and further validates our commercialstrategy.
"The strong interest fromNational Amusements and other top multiplex theatre operators should help usattract even more digitally re-mastered Hollywood event films, which, in turn,can help us grow the IMAX network around the world."
National Amusements is NorthAmerica's sixth largest theatre operator and runs more than 1,425 screens inthe US, UK and Latin America
As of Jun 30, 2004 therewere more than 240 IMAX theatres operating in 35 countries.