$115 Million Cinema Projection Deal In Canada

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Toronto-based Canadian Digital Cinema Partnership (Cineplex Entertainment Limited Partnership and Empire Theatres Limited) has completed $115 million in financing to deploy 1,600 digital projection systems into the two partners’ theatres by the end of 2012.

CDCP has secured digital deployment agreements with major studios, including Twentieth Century Fox, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Brothers Entertainment, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada, Paramount Pictures and Entertainment One.

Digital Cinema Implementation Partners LLC, Bergen County, New Jersey, will provide administrative services and system support to CDCP in connection with its digital deployment in Canada. DCIP is a joint venture owned equally by three top US exhibition industry exhibitors (AMC Entertainment Inc., Cinemark USA Inc. and Regal Entertainment Group) and was formed to facilitate the roll-out of a digital cinema infrastructure in the United States. (DCIP has itself deployed more than 8,000 digital projection systems to theatres in the US and Canada during the past year.)

The funding included $80M in committed bank financing and $35M in equity contributions from the partners.

The new financial support will enable Canada’s two largest motion picture theatre exhibitors to complete the roll out of digital projectors into their theatres over the next 18 months.

Digital projection not only provides consumers with an enhanced movie-going experience with brighter and sharper images on screen, increased programming flexibility, high quality and consistent imagery, but gives the ability to add 3D technology.

Blackstone Advisory Partners L.P. was financial and structuring advisor for CDCP and The Bank of Nova Scotia acted as lead arranger for CDCP’s financing.

CDCP was formed earlier this year to plan and implement the deployment of digital projection equipment in the two partners’ theatres, including the procurement of equipment, arranging of financing and securing of digital deployment agreements with studios and other content providers.

Cineplex Inc. is the largest motion picture exhibitor in Canada and owns, leases or has a joint-venture interest in 129 theatres with 1,344 screens serving approximately 70 million guests annually. (A new theatre opening this summer in Langford, B.C., will add another eight screens.) Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Cineplex it operates theatres from British Columbia to Quebec and is the exclusive provider of UltraAVX and the largest exhibitor of digital 3D and IMAX projection technologies in the country. The company operates the following top tier brands: Cineplex Odeon, Galaxy, Famous Players, Colossus, Coliseum, SilverCity, Cinema City and Scotiabank Theatres. .

Empire Theatres Limited is a Canada-wide film exhibition company providing out-of-home entertainment experience including traditional film exhibition as well as other content using its digital and satellite capabilities. A 100%-owned subsidiary of Empire Company Limited that owns and operates 51 theatres across Canada with 386 screens, including one IMAX theatre in Halifax, NS., its corporate headquarters is located in New Glasgow, NS.

Cineplex and Empire together comprise most of Canada’s theatres, other than Guzzo Cinemas’ 151 theatres in Quebec and some independents spread across Canada.

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