Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Empire Theatres Introducing "Empire Extra" And Three More IMAX Screens!

Exciting news for Canadians! Empire Theatres are expanding their value added services to movie goers and I am impressed. They have two announcements to comment on - here are the official press releases (emphasis is mine):

Halifax, NS - Empire Theatres, a Canada-wide film exhibition company, will be introducing Empire Extra, a revolutionary new digital cinema experience, to five additional locations this year.

Empire Extra provides guests with a heightened sensory experience in a special auditorium custom-designed to offer dynamic sound, screen and seat quality. Empire Extra boasts a proprietary custom-designed multi-channel sound system for the ultimate audio experience; stunning digital presentation on a massive, wall to wall wrap-around screen; and reserved seating in comfy, high back rockers.

Empire Extra was first introduced to the new Empire Theatres Waterloo complex in Waterloo, ON which opened in November 2010. Due to its success and positive guest feedback, it will now be introduced to the following locations over the next few months:

- Empire Theatres Dartmouth Crossing, Dartmouth, NS
- Empire Theatres Empress Walk, Toronto, ON
- Empire Theatres MacLeod Trail, Calgary, AB
- Empire Theatres Crystal Palace, Dieppe, NB
- Empire Theatres Orleans, Orleans, ON

“Empire Extra has been a hit with guests in our Waterloo, ON location. They love the outstanding movie-going experience so we have decided to introduce it to a few other locations in time for summer,” says Dean Leland, Vice President - Studio Relations & Media, Empire Theatres.


Halifax, NS and Toronto, ON - Empire Theatres, a Canada-wide film exhibition company with 50 theatres, and IMAX Corp. (NYSE: IMAX) (TSX: IMAX) announced today that Empire Theatres will be adding three new IMAX digital theatres to its network this year.

In addition to an existing location in Halifax, NS, the following theatres in the Empire Theatres network have been chosen to deliver The IMAX Experience®:

Empire Theatres Country Hills, Calgary, AB

Empire Theatres Kitchener, Kitchener, ON
Empire Theatres Avalon Mall, St. John’s, NL

The Empire Theatres Bayers Lake, Halifax, NS IMAX screen will be converted from film to digital projection to allow for a greater range of IMAX blockbuster hits to be shown.

“We are excited to partner once again with IMAX Corporation to bring The IMAX Experience® to our theatres in these markets,” says Dean Leland, Vice President, Studio & Media Relations, Empire Theatres. “IMAX delivers premium viewing experiences in both digital and 3D that our guests are looking for.”

IMAX offers cutting-edge digital 2D and 3D picture and sound technologies that deliver a superior movie-going experience on a larger screen with crystal-clear images and enhanced sound. IMAX theatres deliver the world's best cinematic presentations using proprietary IMAX, IMAX® 3D, and IMAX DMR® technology, creating an immersive experience that will make guests feel like they are a part of the movie.

“Today’s announcement highlights our commitment to expanding in the Canadian market, and to continuing our successful work with key partners like Empire Theatres,” said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond. “With these three new systems, we are scheduled to have 22 commercial theatres operating in Canada by November, more than double the size of our Canadian commercial theatre network as of November 2010."

The Empire Theatres Country Hills, AB, Empire Theatres Kitchener, ON and Empire Theatres Bayers Lake, NS locations will be open for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2: An IMAX 3D Experience on July 15, 2011. The Empire Theatres Avalon Mall, NL location will be open in September 2011.

About Empire Theatres Limited:
Empire Theatres Limited is a Canada-wide film exhibition company providing an exciting out-of-home entertainment experience including traditional film exhibition as well as other content using its digital and satellite capabilities. Empire Theatres Limited is a 100% owned subsidiary of Empire Company Limited that owns and operates 50 theatres across Canada with 386 screens, including one IMAX theatre in Halifax, NS. Empire Theatres Limited’s corporate headquarters are located in Stellarton, NS, with regional offices in Halifax, NS; Toronto, ON; and Calgary, AB. With approximately 2,500 employees, Empire Theatres provides excellent employment opportunities for the youth of Canada in an exciting and energetic industry.

About IMAX Corporation:
IMAX Corporation is one of the world's leading entertainment and technology companies, specializing in the creation and delivery of premium, awe-inspiring entertainment experiences. With a growing suite of cutting-edge motion picture and sound technologies, and a globally recognized entertainment brand, IMAX is singularly situated at the convergence of the entertainment industry, innovation and the digital media world. The industry's top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and as such, the IMAX network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe. The Company's new digital projection and sound systems - combined with a growing blockbuster film slate - are fueling the rapid expansion of the IMAX network in established markets such as North America, Western Europe, and Japan, as well as emerging markets such as China and Russia. IMAX theatres deliver the world's best cinematic presentations using proprietary IMAX®, IMAX 3D®, and IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-Mastering) technologies. IMAX DMR enables virtually any motion picture to be transformed into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience®. IMAX is headquartered in New York, Toronto and Los Angeles, with offices in London, Tokyo and Shanghai. As of March 31, 2011, there were 528 IMAX theatres (408 commercial, 120 institutional) operating in 46 countries.


I wish I had some figures to pass on to you about the new IMAX Digital Screens because in the past there has been a lot of negative things said about the size of some of their screens and resolution. I AM SURE that these issues are in their past and that the experience will be a massive improvement over what happened a few years ago. I am looking forward to stunning digital clarity on regulation sized IMAX screens. Nothing less will do. I'll ask and see if I can get some numbers for you.

The "Empire Extra" availability sounds right on the money! Can't wait to see it. There has been a movement to these added services in recent years with chains like the Alamo Drafthouse blazing trails (food & licensed beverage service to your seat). Perhaps we will see this in Canada at some point down the road as well. I'm just excited to have these improvements coming right now!!

Congratulations Empire Theatres!!

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