Disney's `A Christmas Carol' First Movie in Imax Deal

Walt Disney Co. (DIS) will release ``A Christmas Carol'' and four more 3-D films in Imax Corp. (IMAX) theaters, giving the maker of giant-screen movie equipment a boost amid a global recession that has frozen financing for new technology.

The adaptation of Charles Dickens's holiday tale, starring Jim Carrey and produced by Robert Zemeckis, is set for release in November 2009, Disney, the second-biggest U.S. media company, said today in a statement. Future releases may include films from director Tim Burton and producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

Mississauga, Ontario-based Imax is trying to expand worldwide with its new digital projection system just as the faltering economy has slowed the transition to the projectors necessary to show 3-D films.

``Disney's commitment to 3-D is great for Imax moviegoers and dovetails ideally with our strategy to build a slate of top- quality movies from the best filmmakers and studios,'' said Greg Foster, chairman and president of Imax Filmed Entertainment.

About 60 percent of Imax's 300 theaters are in North America, according to the company's Web site. The company has announced joint ventures for digital-projection theaters in Austria, Australia and Japan this year.

Last year, Imax struck a deal with DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. to screen the studio's first 3-D films starting in 2009, including the fourth installment of the ``Shrek'' series. The company also has agreements with AMC Entertainment Inc., Regal Entertainment Group and other theater operators to install digital projection systems.

Imax rose 6 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $3.27 at 3:59 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares have fallen 52 percent this year. Burbank, California-based Disney fell 73 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $19.94 on the New York Stock Exchange and has fallen 38 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Philipp Schlaeger in New York at pschlaeger@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jennifer Sondag at jsondag@bloomberg.net

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