* Says 3 systems to be installed by 2012
* Deal takes IMAX’s China signings to 57
* Says deal takes total year-to-date signings to 95
July 15 (Reuters) - Giant-screen movie operator IMAX Corp IMX.TO signed a deal with private movie exhibition company Lumiere Pavilions to install three digital IMAX theatre systems in China.
Under the deal, the first system would be opened in Chongqing at the end of 2010, followed by the second in downtown Guangzhou in August, 2011.
The movie operator said it expects to open the third system at a “yet-to-be determined” location in 2012.
“We’re very excited about our future in this market (China), where our network is scheduled to at least double in size over the next couple of years and we’re already exploring the business of releasing Chinese films in the IMAX format,” IMAX Chief Executive Richard Gelfond said in a statement.
IMAX said the deal takes the total number of its theatres planned to be operating in China by 2012 to 57, and the total number of IMAX systems signings year-to-date to 95, compared with 35 systems a year earlier.
“The U.S. has 300 million people with 35,000 screens. China has 1.3 billion people and 4,000 screens, the opportunity speaks for itself,” Chairman and President of Filmed Entertainment Greg Foster had told Reuters last year.
IMAX shares were down 18 Canadian cents, at C$13.78 Thursday afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Koustav Samanta in Bangalore; Editing by Prem Udayabhanu)