By Andy Sambidge
Three IMAX systems planned for Dubai, Qatar and Bahrain under new agreement
IMAX Corporation and Gulf Film have announced an expansion of their partnership with a revenue share agreement for three IMAX theatre systems in the Middle East.
Under the terms of the agreement, one of the IMAX theatres will be located in an existing multiplex in Dubai and two will be located in new flagship cinemas in Qatar and Bahrain.
"Since upgrading to the IMAX digital system in 2011, our IMAX theatre in Dubai has dramatically increased its business and has had a major impact on our overall box office performance," said Jaber Al Ansari, managing director, Gulf Film.
"Today's agreement, which is a direct result of this success, marks a milestone in the region's film entertainment landscape and highlights the growing demand for IMAX among audiences in the Middle East.
"As we expand our circuit, IMAX will continue to serve as a key differentiator in our offering, bringing movie-goers the world's most immersive cinematic experience."
The deal brings to four Gulf Film's total IMAX commitment and brings to 10 the total number of commercial IMAX theatres in the Middle East.
IMAX CEO Richard L Gelfond added: "With 50 percent of the population under 25 and a growing appetite for Hollywood blockbusters, we view the Middle East as a region with tremendous growth potential and, with today's agreement, we are capitalising on these opportunities and executing against our goal of international network expansion.
"Gulf Film is the number one exhibitor in the Middle East and has its pulse on the market's film and exhibition industry. Our partnership will not only bring IMAX to three countries across the region, it will play a strategic role in helping to support our continued growth efforts in this emerging market."
Gulf Film operates 13 multiplexes throughout the region, with a total of 101 screens and 22,000 seats.
Ongoing expansion will see a significant number of new projects unveiled within the next two years.
In 2012, Gulf Film was acquired by Qatar Media Services.