Beaufort International Group Plc announced today that it has acquired the business and assets of DTS Digital Cinema from DTS, Inc. for an undisclosed sum. Beaufort made the acquisition through its US subsidiary, Beaufort California, Inc.

Chris Thomas, Beaufort California, Inc.’s CEO, commented, “We are very pleased to have made this acquisition. DTS is an established brand in the cinema industry, and provides a solid foundation for us to develop our plans in digital cinema.” Thomas continues, “DTS has laid the groundwork for us with its 15- year history in providing the highest quality digital audio for film to over 30,000 screens worldwide. DTS Digital Cinema has delivered soundtracks for over 9,000 releases in over 100 countries and its digital cinema products (FilmStore® Content Management System and DTS Digital Cinema Theatre Management System) are now proven and in service. These products have undergone substantial design and development and are ideal as the basis for the latest-generation D-Cinema networks. Our focus is on our customers and leveraging the strength of our products and services to meet their needs in the changing marketplace. We will continue to use the DTS brand for the foreseeable future under our agreement with DTS.”

Jon Kirchner, President and CEO of DTS, Inc. added, “We have now completed the sale of the Digital Cinema business which allows DTS to focus entirely on building a high growth consumer business. I truly appreciate the dedication of the management team and employees who continued to build the digital cinema business throughout the sale process, ultimately positioning it for future success under Beaufort's ownership.”

Beaufort International Group Plc is majority-owned by Datasat Communications Ltd., a UK-based satellite services provider. Datasat’s Managing Director Phil Emmel stated, “We decided to invest in the DTS Digital Cinema business because the company is one of the few golden brands that is established within the production and distribution and exhibition marketplaces. It is our vision that we can build a significant presence as a provider of products and services to the digital cinema industry. We want to work with all of the stakeholders to make their lives easier in the transition to D-Cinema and also to provide unparalleled levels of service to everyone working with media content. It is a natural extension of our existing managed service business in which we routinely deliver data and media content over secure networks.

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Total revenue for the quarter ended March 31, 2008 was $117.8 million compared to $109.3 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2007. Admissions revenue was $78.9 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2008 versus $72.0 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2007. Concessions and other revenue was $38.9 million for the first quarter of 2008 versus $37.4 million for the first quarter of 2007.

Operating income was $6.3 million for the first quarter of 2008 compared to operating income of $5.8 million in the same period in the prior year.

Theatre level cash flow was $21.2 million for the first quarter of 2008 versus $21.1 million for the same period in 2007. General and administrative costs were $5.6 million in the first quarter of 2008 versus $6.0 million in the prior year period. Interest expense was $11.1 million for the first quarter of 2008 versus $11.8 million in the prior year period.

"Carmike got off to a strong start to the year as we outperformed the industry in box office growth. Our leading position in 3-D enabled us to capitalize on the success of the Hannah Montana concert event and illustrates the growth opportunity that our 3-D and digital network provides. While the other films released during the first quarter were not as robust, we still generated solid growth in revenues," said Michael W. Patrick, Carmike's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are excited to see the real potential of our digital theatre network start to unfold and we will continue to implement initiatives to improve our cost-controls at the theatre level. We also remain committed to executing our operating performance improvement plan to drive increased cash flow over time."

Net loss was approximately $4.3 million, or $0.34 per diluted share, for the quarter ended March 31, 2008, compared to net loss of $3.7 million, or $0.30 per diluted share, for the quarter ended March 31, 2007.

 

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IMAX Corporation and DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. announced an agreement on Monday to release Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa into IMAX® theatres worldwide on November 7, 2008. The agreement completes IMAX’s integration into DreamWorks Animation’s release strategy for the studio’s next five theatrical releases from June 2008 to May 2010.

Under the terms of the agreement, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa will be digitally re-mastered into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience® and play for a special release in IMAX theatres, including select new IMAX® Digital theatres, which will begin rolling out this summer.

“IMAX’s early scheduled deployment of its state-of-the-art digital projection system has made possible the release of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa into The IMAX Experience,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation. “DreamWorks Animation remains committed to delivering a premium entertainment experience to our audience and further extending our relationship with IMAX helps us to achieve that goal.

 

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Access Integrated Technologies, Inc., the global leader in digital cinema,announced today that Lionsgate will provide movies to digital cinema equipped theatres in the Phase 1 digital cinema program and will pay virtual print fees (VPFs) under a long-term agreement similar to those signed by all the other major studios. Lionsgate is already a long-time customer of AccessIT's Software Division, employing its industry-leading Theatrical Distribution System (TDS) which enables theatre bookings for screens in the U.S. and Canada. AccessIT and Lionsgate have begun negotiations on a Phase 2 agreement.

Since October of 2006, Lionsgate has provided such movies as The Forbidden Kingdom, Rambo, 3:10 to Yuma, and the Saw franchise to AccessIT's Phase 1 network of exhibitors and paid VPFs. This agreement serves to formalize the distributor's intent to supply movies in the future, and to pay VPFs according to a set schedule.

"Having worked with AccessIT on both the software side and the digital cinema side, we are very pleased to formalize our commitment for their Phase 1 customers," said Steve Rothenberg, President of Domestic Distribution at Lionsgate. "Our experiences with them to date have been extremely positive and we are confident that their highly professional teams will continue to provide an excellent level of service. We look forward to finalizing our agreement with them for their Phase 2 deployment customers as well."

"Lionsgate has been a strong proponent of digital cinema having released 23 digital titles starting back in October, 2006, with Employee of the Month" said Chuck Goldwater, President of AccessIT's Media Service Division. "With a full schedule of movies right up there with the other major studios we look forward to more digital releases from Lionsgate to continue to support exhibitors' digital cinema installations and the industry demand for more digital screens. We are proud to build upon our long relationship with Steve Rothenberg, Mike Polydoros and the entire Lionsgate team."

AccessIT's Digital Cinema division is the industry-leading deployment program for Digital Cinema that provides the funding, installation support and administration for the company's studio-supported Digital Cinema rollout plans. Its Phase 2 plan for up to an additional 10,000 screens will provide networked, turnkey, Digital Cinema systems in conformance with DCI specifications, including AccessIT's unique Library Management ServerR and Theatre Command CenterR software. The system will also include digital projectors and JPEG 2000 media servers from a variety of vendors whose equipment is designed to meet the DCI specifications as well as a demanding set of performance and reliability requirements AccessIT developed through its success with the Phase 1 plan. To date, AccessIT has contracted for and completed the rollout of more than 3,700 systems in forty-one states with exhibitors including Atlas Theatres, Allen Theatres, Carmike Cinemas, Celebration! Cinema, Cinema West, Cinetopia, Emagine, Galaxy Cinema, Marquee Cinemas, MJR Theatres, Neighborhood Cinema Group, Rave Motion Picture Theatres, Showplace Cinemas, UltraStar, and AccessIT's own Pavilion Digital Showcase Theatre.

 

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According to The Canadian Press, IMAX Corp. has announced that the Douglas family, its largest shareholder, is adding to its stake by buying 2.7 million shares for $18 million in a private placement. As a result of the move, the Douglas family now owns 19.9 per cent of the company.

In addition, IMAX also said Wachovia Capital Finance Corp. has agreed to expand and ease the terms of its credit facility.

Both transactions will help fund this summer's roll-out of the IMAX digital projection system.

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