IMAX readies Dutch for Avatar
Chris Forrester

IMAX Corp is to add its giant screens at three new locations in the Netherlands in readiness for James Cameron’s Avatar release.

IMAX says it has linked with cinema exhibitor Pathe Netherlands, the country’s largest film exhibitor, to install or upgrade three IMAX theatre systems as part of an expanded joint venture partnership between the two companies.

The deal includes the installation of new IMAX digital projection systems in Rotterdam and Eindhoven, as well as a digital upgrade to the exhibitor’s existing celluloid-based IMAX theatre in Amsterdam. The Amsterdam upgrade and new Rotterdam location are each scheduled to open in time for the December 17 IMAX 3D release of James Cameron’s much-anticipated Avatar in international markets.

Pathé Netherlands opened its first IMAX theatre at the Pathé Netherlands Arena in Amsterdam, 2005 and since then it has become the most successful multiplex in the country, with a steady increase in annual attendance and box office.

“Pathé Netherlands has been operating a successful IMAX theater in Amsterdam for the past four years, and we are particularly pleased that, based on the historical performance, they have decided to expand our joint venture partnership,” said IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond. “Our hope is that we’ll see similar interest from exhibitors in other international territories as we continue to build our network and deliver outstanding event titles.”

“Our digital projection system is gaining traction worldwide and we’re encouraged by the recent progress in Europe,” added Larry O’Reilly, EVP/ Theatre Development. “The team at Pathé Netherlands understands the premium value of the IMAX brand, and they operate top-notch multiplexes, which makes them an ideal joint venture partner for IMAX.”

Separately, the agreement with Europalaces/Pathé also includes upgrading the Gaumont Disney Village IMAX outside Paris, France with IMAX’s digital projection system, which represents a further extension of the developing business relationship between the two companies.