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TORONTO (Reuters) - Cineplex Entertainment, Canada's largest movie exhibitor, on Tuesday said a California company will install at least 175 3D systems in Cineplex theaters across the country by December 2009.
The exhibitor, which operates theaters under such names as Cineplex Odeon and Famous Players, said the deal with RealD, a 3D technology provider, puts the Toronto-based company at the forefront of an industry-wide shift from 35 millimeter to digital projection.
The value of the deal was not disclosed.
"This is taking us to a whole new level," said Pat Marshall, vice president of investor relations for Cineplex.
Cineplex said the new systems will be installed in time for the release of about a dozen 3D movies expected to arrive in theaters in the next 18 months, including Monsters vs. Aliens and Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.
Cineplex Entertainment is 76 percent owned by Cineplex Galaxy Income Fund. The company operates 1,337 screens at 132 theatres.
"This agreement will allow us to provide even more guests across the country with the most advanced digital 3D movie-going experience possible," said Cineplex President and CEO Ellis Jacob in a statement.
There are currently 41 RealD 3D systems installed in Cineplex theatres, with the majority of the remaining systems expected to be in place in 2009.
Reporting by Lara Hertel; Editing by Frank McGurty