Entertainment firm Imax plans 9 theatres by 2010

Kolkata, Jan 6 (IANS) Entertainment technology firm Imax Corp will open five more theatres in India, in addition to the present four, by 2010, a top company official said here Tuesday.

"The theatres are coming up in Gurgaon, two each in Chennai and Bangalore. For the Chennai and Bangalore theatres we have tied up with Sathyam Cinemas. The Kolkata and the Gurgaon ones are developed by Aeren-R," John M. Schreiner, director of the Imax Corporation told reporters on the sidelines of the launching of its first screen in the city.

There are three Imax theatres operational in Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Mumbai, with the fourth, in Kolkata, being built on an investment of Rs.180 million (Rs.18 crore).

Maintaining that entertainment is a "recession-proof business", Schreiner said: "History shows during such periods, people go more for movies because this is a cheap way of getting entertained."

Headquartered jointly in New York City and Toronto, Imax theatres are present in 40 countries. Around 60 percent of the theatres are located in North America and the remaining are spread across the world.

So much so, Schreiner said, that his company is not ruling out foraying into the movie production business. "We might look into movie production after we reach 10 screens in India," he said.

Realty firm Aeren-R Enterprises is looking at co-branding IMAX theatres in India to shore up revenues at a time of economic downturn, company director Jim Patterson added.

Aeren-R is looking at brands such as Airtel, Vodafone, Panasonic, Samsung, Nestle and Unilever for collaboration in cross-promotion and screen advertisements, Patterson said.

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