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IMAX Signs Theatre Deal with Spain's Yelmo Cineplex

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Written by: IMAX Corporation
Date: January 9, 2004

  

Category: Press Releases

TORONTO, January 7, 2004 -- IMAX Corporation (Nasdaq: IMAX; TSX: IMX), the world leader in large format entertainment technology, and Yelmo Cineplex, the leading film exhibitor in Spain, a joint venture between Loews Cineplex Entertainment and Yelmo Films, today announced that they have signed a deal for three IMAX(R) theatre systems. Yelmo Cineplex will be the first commercial exhibitor in Spain to operate IMAX theatres out of its multiplexes.

Each theatre will be located in shopping mall-based multiplexes in Spain, with the first two scheduled to be installed in 2004. All three theatres will utilize new IMAX(R) MPX(TM) theatre technology, which enables existing 35mm multiplex auditoriums to be retrofitted into IMAX theatres. The new IMAX MPX theatre system was designed specifically to enable multiplex operators to enter into the IMAX theatre business in a more cost-effective way. The retrofit process reduces the cost of construction, ultimately contributing to the overall lower capital and operating costs of the IMAX theatre.

Instrumental to the signing of the deal was IMAX's proven success in digitally re-mastering Hollywood event films into IMAX's 15/70 format using its proprietary IMAX(R) DMR(TM) (Digital Re-Mastering) technology. IMAX DMR has been popular in Spain, with sold out showings of The Matrix Revolutions: The IMAX Experience last fall.

"This is an important step forward in our strategy of retrofitting existing multiplex auditoriums into IMAX theatres around the world," said IMAX Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler. "As we get more Hollywood films into IMAX theatres, such as the recently announced Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, we expect to grow our audiences, attracting even more cinema operators to install our theatre systems. There are significant growth opportunities for IMAX around the globe and the installation of IMAX MPX systems in this important market further validates those growth prospects. We are excited to begin this new partnership with Yelmo Cineplex, a prominent multiplex operator whose theatres will expose even more moviegoers to The IMAX Experience(R)."

"The positive response to IMAX DMR films from both consumers and exhibitors fueled our interest in adding IMAX theatres to three of our multiplexes," said Ricardo Evole, President and CEO of Yelmo Cineplex. "Retrofitting existing auditoriums in these multiplexes with IMAX MPX theatre systems provides us with a cost effective method of differentiating ourselves from the competition. With the addition of IMAX theatres, we look forward to offering our patrons the world's most unique and immersive cinematic experiences that include Hollywood event films, as well as original IMAX(R) and IMAX(R) 3D films. We are so confident in this new technology that we hope to operate as many as seven IMAX theatres by 2007."

Travis Reid, President and CEO of Loews Cineplex Entertainment, which operates three IMAX theatres in the United States, and a director of Yelmo Cineplex, added, "We are thrilled to offer the popular IMAX format to more of our patrons. This is a great complement to the experiences that we are currently offering at our theatres. With the advent of Hollywood movies presented in IMAX's 15/70 format, The IMAX Experience offers consumers another way to enjoy today's event films. The new IMAX MPX technology has opened the door to new opportunities which make it easier for multiplex operators to take advantage of this format."

About Yelmo Cineplex

Formed in 1998, Yelmo Cineplex is a 50/50 Joint Venture between Loews Cineplex International and Yelmo Films. Yelmo is the single leading exhibitor in Spain with 303 owned and operated screens in Spain. More information on the company can be found at www.yelmocineplex.com.

About IMAX Corporation

Founded in 1967, IMAX Corporation is one of the world's leading entertainment technology companies. IMAX's businesses include the creation and delivery of the world's best cinematic presentations using proprietary IMAX and IMAX 3D technology, and the development of the highest quality digital production and presentation. IMAX has developed revolutionary technology called IMAX DMR (Digital Re-mastering) that makes it possible for any 35mm film to be transformed into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience. The IMAX brand is recognized throughout the world for extraordinary and immersive family experiences. As of September 30 2003, there were more than 235 IMAX theatres operating in 36 countries.

IMAX(R), IMAX(R) 3D, IMAX(R)DMR(TM), IMAX(R) MPX(TM) and The IMAX Experience(R) are trademarks of IMAX Corporation. More information on the Company can be found at www.imax.com.

About Loews Cineplex Entertainment

Loews Cineplex owns, operates or has an equity interest in 324 theatres and 3,166 screens operating under the Loews, Cineplex Odeon, Star, Magic Johnson, Cinemex, Yelmo Cineplex, Megabox Cineplex, Galaxy and UFA names. The company's partnerships include: Magic Johnson Theatres in the United States, Yelmo Cineplex in Spain, Megabox Cineplex in Korea and now Neue Filmpalast (UFA) in Germany. Loews Cineplex is privately owned by Onex Corporation, one of Canada's largest companies with global operations in service, manufacturing and technology industries, and Oaktree Capital Management, LLC, a Los Angeles based private investment management firm specializing in inefficient markets and alternative investments with approximately US$25 billion of assets committed for management primarily from institutional investors.

CONTACT:
Media:
Romi Schutzer of IMAX Corporation, New York
+1-212-821-0144
rschutzer@imax.com

Business Media:
Whit Clay of Sloane & Company, New York
+1-212-446-1864
wclay@sloanepr.com

Entertainment Media:
Al Newman of Newman & Company, Los Angeles
+1-818-784-2130
asn@newman-co.com

Analysts:
Jennifer Gery of IMAX Corporation, New York
+1-212-821-0144
jgery@imax.com

Media/Analysts:
Pablo Nogueroles of Yelmo Cineplex, Madrid
+34-91-758-9600
pablo_nogueroles@yelmocpx.com

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