Italy will get its first IMAX screen, thanks to a joint venture between IMAX Corporation and the Odeon UCI Cinemas group for the Italian market. 

The IMAX venue, set to open May 2011, will be near Milan in the UCI Pioltello multiplex.

“Thanks to the enormous success of IMAX in the Odeon cinemas in the UK, we are able to bring the IMAX Experience to Italy, increasing both the flexibility in the programming in the circuit and the number of films we can offer. Considering the success [of IMAX] I am optimistic that we can expand in the strategic Italian market,” Andrea Stratta, CEO of UCI Italia said.

The news about the IMAX deal comes as the national exhibition conference called the Giornate Professionali or Professional Days organized by Anec, the Italian exhibitors organisation, winds down.

At the event, winners of the Biglietto D’Oro or the Golden Ticket awards in various categories have been announced. 

The Golden Ticket for the distributor whose film attracted the most spectators goes to Medusa Film and Warner Bros, which are in first and second place. Fox and Universal are neck and neck for third place.

The Golden Ticket covers the period from December 2009 through November 30, 2010.

In the category of film with the most admissions in the Italian market, the award goes to Avatar followed by Medusa’s Benvenuti Al Sud followed by Alice In Wonderland.

The top three Italian films, which also win Golden Tickets in their own category go to Medusa’s Benvenuti Al Sud followed by Filmauro’s Natale A Beverly Hills and third to Warner Bros. local production Io, Loro, E Lara.

The exhibitors also announced that of the 750 screens already digitalized, 594 were able to make the upgrade thanks to the tax credit open to the sector.

Italy’s tax credit expires at the end of the year and renewal is not guaranteed. The government will decide within the end of 2010, and in the meantime, entertainers have staged national protests against the government, which is threatening to take the incentive away.