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Imax, Regal to Jointly Open 31 Imax Theaters in U.S.

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Imax Corp. and Regal Entertainment Group, the largest U.S. movie-theater operator, will install 31 Imax Digital projection systems in Regal theaters in 20 U.S. cities.

The companies plan to share the cost and profit of the new theaters, according to a joint statement today. Financial details weren't provided.

The agreement expands the partnership with Regal Cinemas Inc., a unit of Regal Entertainment, to 38 venues and will bring the total number of Regal's Imax theaters to 52 by the end of 2010, the companies said. The first theaters are set to open in time to show ``Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince: The Imax Experience,'' on Nov. 21, according to the statement.

Imax theaters often show movies on what the company says are the largest screens in the world, 100 feet wide by 80 feet, or eight stories, tall. The company has developed a system to permit traditional Hollywood films, made in 35-millimeter format, to be shown in Imax's 70-millimeter format.

Digital projection greatly reduces the need for film prints and will increase the number of movies that can be shown on Imax screens, the companies said.

Mississauga, Ontario-based Imax rose 62 cents, or 9.9 percent, to $6.90 at 4 p.m. in trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market, the biggest jump since Jan. 29. Regal, based in Knoxville, Tennessee, advanced 34 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $19.43 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

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