Kuwait looking large with 2 Imax screens

First venue skedded to open later this year

TORONTO — Imax has inked with Kuwait National Cinema Co., the Arab state’s largest commercial exhibitor, for the country’s first two Imax theater systems.

The deal involves lower-cost Imax MPX systems. Financial details were not available.

“The compelling economics of the Imax MPX theater system and the world-wide success of Imax DMR releases make this an ideal time to join the Imax theater network,” said Alan Hall, general manager of Kuwait National Cinema Co.

The first venue, skedded to open later this year, is a retrofit of an auditorium in Kuwait City; it will be the first multiplex-based Imax theater in the Middle East. The second is skedded to open by 2007. Both will be able to show Hollywood films that have been digitally remastered for Imax format.

“We believe the multiplex-based Imax theaters will serve as a showcase for the whole region,” Imax co-CEOs and co-chairmen Rich Gelfond and Brad Wechsler said in a statement.

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Nine Imax theaters are set to open in the Middle East by 2007, including locations in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Qatar.