Kinopark Set to Open Kazakhstan's First IMAX® Theatre in November 2010
Strong Performance of Russian IMAX Theatres Drives Network Growth in CIS Region; Contract Signings Momentum Continues Worldwide
ASTANA, Kazakhstan, Sept. 16, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Building on the momentum of the expanding IMAX theatre network in Russia and The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), IMAX Corporation (Nasdaq:IMAX) (TSX:IMX) and Kinopark, the leading exhibitor in Kazakhstan with 35% share of market, today announced an agreement to install three IMAX® theatre systems in Kazakhstan, beginning in November 2010. The agreement marks IMAX's first entry into Kazakhstan and follows the Company's recent announcement to open up to 14 locations in Russia and the CIS, the Company's largest European deal to date. During the past nine months, sevenIMAX theatres in the Russia and CIS region have produced some of the highest per screen box office averages in the world.
Under the terms of the sale agreement, the first IMAX location is scheduled to open in November of 2010 in a top performing Kinopark multiplex in the capital city of Astana. The second and third systems are to be part of newly constructed multiplexes, with one scheduled to open in 2011 and the other in 2012. Today's announcement brings the total number of IMAX theatres scheduled to be operating in Russia and the CIS by 2012 to 30. The Russia and CIS region is IMAX's third largest market behind the United States and China. The Company's announced number of theatre systems signings year-to-date has increased to 137 worldwide, which compares to 35 system signings in all of 2009.
"IMAX theatres in Russia and CIS are producing record-breaking results, demonstrating the growing popularity of the IMAX brand in the region," said Abdrashid Rakhmetov, Managing Director of Kinopark. "The core idea of Kinopark multiplexes is always about giving more than our visitors expect, more than a movie. And we believe that The IMAX Experience® will help us further our goal of staying #1 in the market. We're very proud to be the first exhibitor in Kazakhstan to introduce moviegoers to The IMAX Experience. We believe the introduction of the IMAX brand will reinforce our status as the country's leading exhibitor, and that the attractive economics of IMAX's business model will help deliver incremental revenue to our multiplex business overall."
"The Russia and CIS region is one of our fastest growth markets, and we think this new relationship with Kinopark demonstrates that we're aligned with an established and growing exhibition brand as we enter into Kazakhstan for the first time," said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond. "This relationship represents a small part of the high level of new interest we're seeing from regional exhibitors, which will continue to become an increasingly important constituency for us as we expand internationally."
"We see significant potential for growth in Russia and the CIS. We have seen in the past that when we enter a new country or market with the leading exhibitor, the success of those initial locations often leads to additional interest from other exhibitors in the same market," added Larry T. O'Reilly, IMAX's Executive Vice President, Theatre Development. "We believe Kinopark is an ideal partner to have in Kazakhstan and we're looking forward to working with them to grow the IMAX brand there."
IMAX's digital projection system delivers The IMAX Experience and helps drive profitability for studios, exhibitors and IMAX theatres by eliminating the need for film prints, increasing program flexibility and ultimately increasing the number of movies shown on IMAX screens. The system can run both IMAX and IMAX® 3D presentations.
Founded in 2006, Kinopark is the largest exhibitor in Kazakhstan. The exhibitor currently operates seven locations in the country's biggest cities, including Astana and Almaty. Kazakhstan's cinema market is expanding at a rate of 20-30% annually in large cities as well as less populated regions. Kinopark's new cinemas are primarily located in shopping and entertainment centers.
About IMAX Corporation
IMAX Corporation is one of the world's leading entertainment technology companies, specializing in immersive motion picture technologies. The worldwide IMAX network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event Hollywood films around the globe, with IMAX theatres delivering the world's best cinematic presentations using proprietary IMAX, IMAX® 3D, and IMAX DMR technology. IMAX DMR is the Company's groundbreaking digital re-mastering technology that allows it to digitally transform virtually any conventional motion picture into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience. The IMAX brand is recognized throughout the world for extraordinary and immersive entertainment experiences for consumers. As of June 30, 2010, there were 447 IMAX theatres (325 commercial, 122 institutional) operating in 47 countries.
IMAX®, IMAX® 3D, IMAX DMR®, An IMAX 3D Experience® and The IMAX Experience® are trademarks of IMAX Corporation. More information about the Company can be found at www.imax.com. You may also connect with IMAX on Facebook ( www.facebook.com/imax ), Twitter ( www.twitter.com/imaxnews ) and YouTube ( www.youtube.com/imaxmovies ).
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This press release contains forward looking statements that are based on management's assumptions and existing information and involve certain risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by such forward looking statements. Important factors that could affect these statements include ongoing discussions with the SEC and OSC relating to their ongoing inquiries and the Company's accounting, the performance of films, the signing of theatre system agreements, the viability of new technologies, businesses and products, the timing of theatre system deliveries, the mix of theatre systems shipped, the timing of the recognition of revenues and expenses on film production and distribution agreements, risks arising from potential material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting and fluctuations in foreign currency and in the large format, general commercial exhibition and out-of-home entertainment markets. These factors and other risks and uncertainties are discussed in the Company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and most recent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q.
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