Spanish exhibitor Yelmo Cineplex is set to become the first commercial exhibitor in Spain to operate IMAX theatres out of its multiplexes, thanks to a new deal signed with the IMAX Corporation.

The first two of three 35mm multiplex auditoriums to be retrofitted into IMAX theatres will be installed in 2004. All three theatres will be based in shopping mall-based multiplexes in Spain.

"This is an important step forward in our strategy of retrofitting existing multiplex auditoriums into IMAX theatres around the world," IMAX Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler said in a statement.

'The positive response to IMAX DMR films from both consumers and exhibitors fuelled our interest," said Ricardo Evole, President and CEO of Yelmo Cineplex, adding that the company hopes to operate as many as seven IMAX theatres by 2007.

Formed in 1998, Yelmo Cineplex is a 50/50 joint venture between Loews Cineplex International and Yelmo Films.