UPDATE 1-Imax, AMC to set up new Imax theaters

Tue Jun 1, 2010 8:06am EDT

* Imax, AMC to set up 15 to 25 new Imax theaters in 2011

* Extend length of the joint venture arrangement

TORONTO, June 1 (Reuters) - IMAX Corp (IMX.TO) said on Tuesday it plans to expand its big-screen theater offering in North America in partnership with theater-operator AMC Entertainment.

Imax and AMC intend to open 15 to 25 new Imax theaters in 2011 in both new markets and some markets where AMC already operates Imax theaters in North America, the two companies said in a joint statement.

Upon completion of the full roll-out, AMC will operate between 125 and 135 Imax theaters, the companies said.

Imax, which has transformed its business to digital projection from large-format film, said earlier this year that based on recent deals, it expects to install more theater systems in 2010 than it previously forecast. [ID:nN29158776]

In April, Imax posted quarterly results that blew past analyst expectations as blockbuster 3D films like "Avatar" and "Alice and Wonderland" played to big crowds in most theaters.

There are currently close to 440 Imax theaters operating in 47 countries across the globe.

Imax said it has also extended the length of the joint venture arrangement for all AMC Imax theaters to 10 years, from the previous term of seven years.

The company said it has also adjusted allocation of costs to help defray AMC's increased operating expenses. (Reporting by Euan Rocha, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

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