IMAX Corporation today announced that it would be opening five new IMAX theatres in India by 2008. Delhi, Kolkata and Jaipur are the cities that have been shortlisted for three of the five projects.
“Delhi-based Aeren’s group will be the developers that we will be working with at Delhi and Kolkata. We plan to open the IMAX at Delhi by the end of 2005 and that will be followed by the one at Kolkata. The IMAX at Jaipur is most likely to be opened by the end of 2006,” Don Savant, vice-president and general manager, Asia Pacific, IMAX Corporation said.
The corporation, till date, has set up 235 IMAX theatres in 35 countries with three being in India.
Aeren's is a 30-year-old group of builders and developers in Delhi that has a client list that includes Pepsi, McDonalds, LML, MTNL, Sansui, UTI Bank and the JK GROUP. It has to its credit several farmhouses, colonies, residential and commercial buildings.
“We plan to introduce the new MPX technology in India, which will reduce costs for the multiplex operators. We see India as a significant growth area,” Richard Gelfond, co-chairman and co-chief operating officer, IMAX Corporation said at a press conference.
The MPX technology enables the multiplex operators to enter the IMAX business on a more cost-effective basis, as the projection and sound systems fit into a traditional 35 mm setting itself.
“Within the next 18 months we plan to introduce this technology in cities like Chennai, Bangalore and Pune in India,” Savant said. This means at least a 20 per cent reduction in operating costs and at the same time benefit from the IMAX experience.
IMAX Corporation has ventured into film production with Magnificent Desolation that stars Tom Hanks in the lead. It plans to produce at least one film a year. Later it also plans to capture live action in 3D technology.
It also plans to enter newer countries and has recently signed an agreement with the government of Punjab province in Pakistan, to install the first IMAX theatre in the country. The theatre is most likely to open in September 2005.
Gelfond also said that The Polar Express, the first full-length Hollywood feature film ever converted into IMAX 3D will open in IMAX theatres and conventional theatres simultaneously in India on December 24, 2004.
The Prasads group, which operates the IMAX theatre in Hyderabad, plans to set up a multiplex in Vizag.
"The government has earmarked land for the multiplex but we cannot give any time frame for its set-up,” Ramesh Prasad, director, Prasad Media Corporation Limited said.
“The Prasad’s group is among the most successful of our operators in India, despite low ticket charges,” Richard Gelfond, co-chairman and co-chief operating officer, IMAX Corporation said.
“While the tickets cost about Rs 180 in India that is around $4, it is $18 in Japan and $11 in the US,” he added.