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Veteran distribution exec Andrew Cripps joins Imax

February 22, 2012 |  6:26 pm

Imax Corp., the big-screen theater company, has hired veteran international executive Andrew Cripps to be president of its Europe, Middle East and Africa operations.

Cripps, who is filling a new position in the fast-growing Canadian company, will be responsible for the expansion of the Imax theater network in those regions.

One of Hollywood's most respected foreign distribution and marketing executives, Cripps joins Imax from Paramount Pictures International in London, where he had been president since January 2007.  Previously, he was president and chief operating officer of United International Pictures , a joint venture distribution company founded by Paramount, Universal and MGM.Cripps

He joined UIP in 1986 as executive assistant to the general manager for Japan, and was later promoted to the roles of vice president of sales in Southeast Asia and senior vice president of international sales. Cripps spent 19 years in Japan and speaks fluent Japanese.

“Given Andrew’s leadership, vast industry experience and strong relationships with exhibitors and studios, we believe he is well-equipped to help us maximize the growth opportunities that exist in the underpenetrated markets of" Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Imax Chief Executive Richard Gelfond said in a statement. “Our goals for 2012 include igniting our expansion efforts in Latin America, India and Europe, and bringing someone of Andrew’s caliber on board further demonstrates our commitment to achieving these objectives."

Cripps, a native of Sri Lanka and a British citizen, said he was "delighted to join Imax, a company I know and respect and a name that is synonymous with quality entertainment. I hope to leverage my more than 20 years in Europe, as well as my relationships with exhibitors, to expand the Imax network and grow the brand.”

Imax, which has a large operation in Santa Monica, has 96 theaters in Europe, Middle East and Africa and plans to open 33 more throughout the region by 2014. Imax has nearly 600 theaters in 48 countries, including China, where it could benefit substantially from a new easing of restrictions of foreign films allowed into the country. The Chinese government recently agreed to allow an additional 14 "enhanced" movies into the country each year, primarily those that are available in 3-D or Imax formats.

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-- Richard Verrier

Photo: Andrew Cripps, veteran distribution executive, who was hired Wednesday by Imax Corp. Credit: Imax.

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