Korea's Leading Exhibitor to Utilize IMAX Brand as Key Part of China Growth Strategy
First China Deal Structured With Increased Box Office Participation
Deal Will Make CJ CGV the Largest Operator of IMAX Theatres in Asia; Third Largest IMAX Operator Worldwide
NEW YORK, Sept. 20, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- IMAX Corporation (Nasdaq:IMAX) (TSX:IMX) today announced that CJ CGV HOLDINGS, LTD., a subsidiary of CJ CGV Co. Ltd., the leading theatre exhibitor in Korea, and the number one exhibitor in Asia, has signed an agreement to install 15 digital IMAX® theatre systems in new locations planned for The People's Republic of China. The deal marks IMAX's single largest theatre deal in Asia and expands its existing relationship with CJ CGV, which already operates 5 IMAX theatres in Korea, and comes on the heels of the joint venture arrangement between the two parties that was announced in March. With this announcement, CJ CGV now has committed to operating up to 35 IMAX theatres overall.The deal calls for CJ CGV to install the first 2 IMAX systems in 2011 with all remaining installations scheduled to be completed between 2012 and 2015.
Under the terms of the sale, the parties anticipate sharing in the box office of all 15 Chinese locations once installed. IMAX has had increasing success with revenue sharing deals in international markets in recent years. Today's announcement brings the total number of IMAX systems scheduled to be open in Greater China, IMAX's second largest market, to 96. The Company's announced number of theatre systems signings year-to-date has increased to 168 worldwide, which compares to 35 system signings in all of 2009.
"Our experience with the IMAX brand and business in Korea has proven to us that an effective method for us to grow our business in China is to include IMAX in new multiplex locations," said Mr. Kim Joo Hyung, CEO of CJ CGV. "We have been successful with our current IMAX theatres in Korea, and with IMAX's impressive film slate, which is targeted to include mainstream Chinese films, we are pleased to expand our IMAX footprint."
"CGV is one of the most successful and largest exhibitors in Asia, and entering a new agreement with them represents our confidence in their skills as a premier exhibition partner and in the strength of the Chinese exhibition market, which is expected to increase significantly in the coming years," said IMAX Chief Executive Officer Richard L. Gelfond. "We think this deal is also significant because, under the terms of the agreement, and for the first time in China, IMAX will trade a lower up-front fee than we receive in a typical sales deal in exchange for a larger share of the box office generated by the theatre, giving us increased participation in the growing box office in China, which has more than doubled in the country over the last two years."
"This deal represents the single largest IMAX commitment in Asia, and having it come from an existing customer reinforces the appeal of our business model," added Don Savant, IMAX's Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Asia Pacific. "CGV is now our third largest exhibitor partner worldwide, and they will continue to be a strong partner for us in the years ahead."
About CJ CGV
CJ CGV operates South Korea's largest multiplex cinema chain, with its headquarters in Seoul. It is a subsidiary of CJ Group and was established in 1996. CGV opened its first multiplex cinema in Korea in April 1998. Since the opening of its first cinema in eastern Seoul, CGV has expanded and currently operates 575 screens over 69 sites nationwide. CGV opened its first overseas branch in Shanghai, China in late 2006 and opened its first North American branch in Los Angeles, California in June 2010. The company went public in December 2004 and is currently valued at US$450 million. CGV now has 45% of the market share in South Korea including Primus, its subsidiary multiplex chain with 229 screens in 31 sites nationwide.
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 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®, Experience It In IMAX®, 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/imax ) 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, but are not limited to, general economic, market or business conditions, including the length and severity of the current economic downturn, the opportunities that may be presented to and pursued by the Company, the performance of IMAX DMR films, conditions in the in-home and out-of home entertainment industries, the signing of theatre system agreements, changes and developments in the commercial exhibition industry, the failure to convert theatre system backlog into revenue, new business initiatives, investments and operations in foreign jurisdictions, foreign currency fluctuations and the Company's prior restatements and the related litigation and ongoing inquiries by the SEC and the OSC. 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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