LOS ANGELES -- IMAX Corporation (Nasdaq:IMAX) (TSX:IMX) and Warner Bros. Pictures, a unit of Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX), announced today that they have completed an agreement to release up to 20 Warner Bros. films in IMAX's format over the course of the next three and a half years (from 2010 through 2013). The agreement strategically aligns Warner Bros.' tent-pole business with the increasing worldwide popularity of The IMAX Experience(R) in both 2D and IMAX(R) 3D, providing the studio with an added distribution platform that consistently delivers strong box office returns. The agreement underscores the excitement around the studio's future films which are anticipated to be among the best Hollywood event titles slated for release in the coming years.

Under the agreement, Warner Bros. movies that will be released in IMAX are: Legends of the Guardian: The Owls of Ga'Hoole 3D (September 24, 2010); Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (3D) (November 19, 2010); Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II (3D) (July 15, 2011); Happy Feet 2 (3D) (November 18, 2011); and The Hobbit (December 2013). Warner Bros. and IMAX also plan to release an additional 15 films over the course of 2011, 2012 and 2013, including Gravity, Dark Shadows, Fury Road, Batman 3, and Superman.

"Our track record with IMAX has been incredible, and incorporating 3D into this collaborative effort will serve as the ultimate experience for our audiences," said Dan Fellman, President, Domestic Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures. "We are extraordinarily proud of our forthcoming slate and eager to offer these films to audiences in the most premium of movie-going experiences."

"We're thrilled to join with IMAX in bringing global audiences new and exciting experiences through the 3D IMAX format," said Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, President, International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures. "We have a tremendously powerful slate of quality tentpole films, and as IMAX theaters continue to expand internationally, more and more audiences will have the opportunity to experience our films using this exciting format."

"Warner Bros. is and has been an important strategic partner for IMAX. The success of our partnership to date is a result of our integrated approach to marketing and release strategies, and we believe this formula will lead to more box office success in the future," said Richard L. Gelfond, CEO of IMAX. "Our digital theatre system has accelerated the growth of our theatre network and provides us with significant flexibility in the release and programming schedule in our theatres. This important announcement provides increased visibility into our future film slate, enabling existing and potential exhibitors to better know what's 'coming soon' in their IMAX(R) theatres."

"IMAX has a deep appreciation for Warner Bros.' approach to the film business; they consistently work with the industry's most talented filmmakers, produce and release blockbuster films that captivate global audiences and make going to the movies a fun, powerful and inspiring experience," said Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Filmed Entertainment. "We are confident that continuing to team with Warner Bros. to distribute market, promote and showcase their 'all-star' titles in IMAX will delight movie-goers around the world and achieve box office and critical success that will benefit our two companies and our exhibitor partners."

Since June 2003, Warner Bros. Pictures has released 25 titles in IMAX's format, 10 of which featured IMAX 3D, including several live action pictures that were partially converted into 3D with IMAX's proprietary 2D-to-3D conversion technology. Warner Bros. films have generated approximately $565 million in box office revenues at IMAX theatres around the world. Each Hollywood title was digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience using IMAX's proprietary IMAX DMR(R) (Digital Re-Mastering) technology. Also included in the tally are the studio's four original IMAX 3D co-productions, NASCAR 3D (2003), Deep Sea 3D (2008), Under the Sea 3D (2009) and Hubble 3D, in select IMAX theatres now.

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Total tweets for April 30th Openers

As expected, A Nightmare On Elm Street started with a bang and 2,318 tweets on Monday which equated to 7% of the total Twitter buzz for all films opening in the next 4 months. By comparison, The Crazies had 836 tweets its Monday before release, Shutter Island had 1,830, and Saw VI had 1,172. Of those 2,318 tweets, 444 were positive (19.15%) and 204 negative (8.80%). This is not the type of film to be overly swayed by negative buzz so it really should have little impact on its chances. Horrors tend to have very large Thursdays thanks to midnight showings and as such their Monday to Thursday multiplier is usually in the region of 7+ and with the added hype here I wouldn't be surprised if it ended up above 8. As such, these early numbers seem to indicate a total number of tweets in the region of 19,000 - 21,000 by end of day Thursday. With an expected ratio of ~1,250 that should be good for a ~$16 million Friday.

Furry Vengeance started with stark contrast from the above and a slim 233 tweets which mapped to 0.7% of the total Twitter buzz for all films opening in the next 4 months. By comparison, The Spy Next Door had 261 tweets its week before release, and The Tooth Fairy had 283. Of those 233 tweets it managed to secure, 35 were positive (15.02%) and 23 negative (9.87%). Really not a pretty picture to start the week with and the poor positive/negative numbers won't help things. At this point a week total in the region of 1,800 to 2,000 seems likely. I expect its ratio to come in around ~650 so a Friday in the vicinity of $2.75 million appears likely.

Check back tomorrow to see the Tuesday numbers and more comparisons. Follow @AlexBOXOFFICE on Twitter for additional updates.

Twitter tracking history. (For 2009's ratio history please check here.)

alltweets042310.jpgThe ratio is the number of tweets per $1 million of Friday Box Office gross. A film with 1,000 tweets and a $10 million Friday would therefore have a ratio of 100. In general, films that appeal to very young or older audiences have lower ratios since those audiences are not big users of Twitter. By comparison, films that appeal to younger audiences (18-35) have much higher ratios since those audiences are much more active users of Twitter.

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Source: THR

Paramount is now developing a third installment in The Ring franchise for a 3D release. Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean) directed the the original, while director Hideo Nakata handled the sequel (Nakata had previously helmed the Japanese version, Ringu 2). Neither appear to be returning for this project. David Loucka will pen the screenplay.

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Horror flicks lend themselves quite well to 3D. Despite the fact that it opened during a crowded weekend in January 2009, My Bloody Valentine 3D was able to rake in more than $50 million domestically without the help of major stars or the benefit of being part of an established franchise.

The Ring Two was able to rake in $160 million worldwide when it opened in 2005.

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LOS ANGELES, CA, April 26, 2010- IMAX Corporation (NASDAQ: IMAX; TSX: IMX) today announced that industry veteran Mark Zoradi will begin working for the Company as a non-executive strategic advisor effective April 12, 2010. Based in Los Angeles, Mr. Zoradi will be available to advise on key issues in all areas of the Company, including film acquisition, distribution and marketing, as well as studio and exhibitor relationships.

Mr. Zoradi is a 30-year veteran of the motion picture industry. Prior to joining IMAX, Zoradi served as President, Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group. During his nearly three decades at Disney, Zoradi worked in the television, home entertainment and film divisions and most recently served as president of the studio's motion picture group, overseeing worldwide marketing and distribution. Zoradi started his Disney career as marketing coordinator for Walt Disney Home Video in 1980 at ground zero of the home entertainment boom. He next became marketing director for the Disney Channel, which was also in its infancy at the time. He segued into domestic theatrical distribution as director of sales for Buena Vista Pictures Distribution in the mid-80s and also held the position of senior vice president and general manager of Buena Vista Television from 1987-1992. Earlier this month, Zoradi joined the Board of Directors of newly formed Rave Cinemas, LLC, now the United States' fifth largest theater exhibition chain.

"The IMAX network continues to expand around the globe, and Mark's industry insight and expertise will no doubt help us further establish ourselves as a critical distribution platform for event titles," said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond. "We welcome Mark to IMAX at an exciting time for the Company and believe his enthusiasm for the organization is a real testament to the opportunities ahead."

Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Filmed Entertainment added, "Mark and I have worked closely together as the relationship between IMAX and Disney developed and expanded. I am confident that Mark's knowledge and experience working with a thriving global entertainment company, combined with his unique understanding and approach, will be a big asset to IMAX, and I look forward to officially welcoming him to the IMAX family."

"IMAX is an incredible brand with a distinct and important position in the overall distribution strategy of nearly every major studio," Mr. Zoradi added. "I look forward to this exciting opportunity, and to being a member of the IMAX team as the Company continues to deliver The IMAX Experience® to more audiences around the world."

Zoradi holds an MBA in Marketing and Finance from UCLA's Graduate School of Management and a BA in Economics and Sociology from Westmont College. He is a member of the following organizations: Board of Trustees at Westmount College; Board of Directors of Providence St. Joseph Medical Center and Los Angeles Regional Young Life. In November of last year, Zoradi received the Louis B. Mayer motion picture business leader of the year award from his alma mater, the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

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Two new wide releases open this upcoming week at the Box Office: A Nightmare On Elm Street and Furry Vengeance.

A Nightmare On Elm Street had 4,293 tweets on its lead-up frame last week. That's a massive number, by far the most I've seen for a horror since last September. By comparison, The Crazies had 2,122 tweets its week before release, Shutter Island had 3,594, and Saw VI had 1,392. There is no question that its ratio is going to be above 1,000 given the genre and appeal of the film to the Twitter core, which are quite horror-starved of late. I'm also using a pretty basic search string of "A Nightmare On Elm Street" which will grab a huge percentage of the relevant tweets. All of this points to a ratio of ~1,250. With an expected tweet count in the region of 20,000+, an opening day in the mid to high teen millions should be possible.

Furry Vengeance had 948 tweets last week in its lead-up frame. By comparison, The Spy Next Door had 376 tweets its week before release, and The Tooth Fairy had 1,247. The film came in at 18% negative for the week which is pretty high, and roughly 20% positive which is a ways below average (usually around 25%), especially for its genre. Nightmare On Elm Street by comparison was 22% positive / 15% negative, not that reviews are going to be a huge addition or subtraction for it since its audience is pretty much inbuilt. With this in mind Vengeance should come in with a ratio of 600-700 from 2,000 - 2,500 tweets. ~$3 million Friday might be in store.

Check back Monday night for analysis of the Monday tweet totals. Follow @AlexBOXOFFICE on Twitter for additional updates.

Twitter tracking history. (For 2009's ratio history please check here.)

alltweets042310.jpgThe ratio is the number of tweets per $1 million of Friday Box Office gross. A film with 1,000 tweets and a $10 million Friday would therefore have a ratio of 100. In general, films that appeal to very young or older audiences have lower ratios since those audiences are not big users of Twitter. By comparison, films that appeal to younger audiences (18-35) have much higher ratios since those audiences are much more active users of Twitter.

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