Imax expands in Europe

New screens planned for U.K., Netherlands, Austria

LONDON — Imax Corp. has struck deals with Odeon UCI in the U.K., Pathe in the Netherlands and Cineplexx in Austria to add a total of five screens to its European network.

This is welcome news for the Toronto-based large-format specialist, which hired former Paramount Intl. topper Andrew Cripps last year to lead its expansion in Europe. In recent years, the company has struggled to grow its footprint as fast in Western Europe as it has in emerging territories such as China and Russia.

Pathe Theaters in the Netherlands will open three Imax screens in existing multiplexes, including The Hague and Tilburg, with a third location to be confirmed. Pathe already operates an Imax screen in Amsterdam.

In Austria, Cineplexx will add an Imax theater at its Donauplex compex in Vienna.

Odeon and UCI, which is the largest Imax operator in Europe, will add another screen at its new multiplex in Milton Keynes, which is due to open in 2014.

“Europe continues to be a key strategic focus for Imax,” said Cripps, Imax prexy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “Today’s announcement not only underscores the growth opportunities that exist in the region, which has approximately 450 million consumers, but it’s also an endorsement of the confidence exhibitors have in Imax to deliver audiences a differentiated experience and drive incremental revenue to their multiplexes.”

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