Imax goes Bollywood with India expansion

Toronto-based Imax signs deal to open four theatres in India showing Bollywood films.

Imax Corp. has signed a deal with India's SPI group to build four new theatres in India focusing on digitally enhanced Bollywood films. The Toronto-based company currently only shows Hollywood films in India, one of the largest theatre-going markets in the world.

Imax announced Monday it will open 4 theatres in India focusing on showing Bollywood movies. (Mahesh Kumar A/Associated Press)

India ranks number one in the world in film attendance and produces over 1,000 films every year. Approximately 90 per cent of all box-office revenues in the country are from non-English language movies, with recent reports projecting India's film industry to grow from $3.2 billion US in 2010 to $5 billion by 2014.

Imax currently operates four theatres in India with another five currently under construction. The new deal would bring the number of Imax theatres in India to 13. Imax says that as of last September, it has 583 theatres in 48 countries worldwide.

The company has been focusing in particular on China, where it currently has 45 theatres and plans to expand to 300 theatres by 2016.

"This agreement puts us in position to consider the local release of Bollywood films,"  said Imax CEO Richard L. Gelfond,  "which will be key to the success and growth of IMAX in this strategically important region of world."

Imax stock rose by two cents to $20.90 on the TSX Monday.