IMAX recovery boosted by China box office
August 26, 2020
By Chris Forrester
August 24th saw IMAX’s share price jump 14.39 percent helped by positive news from its Chinese division.
A movie, The Eight Hundred, the first-ever Chinese blockbuster production to be entirely filmed with IMAX cameras, had a very strong opening weekend in China with $116 million in box-office receipts over the 3-day weekend.
IMAX controls just 1 per cent of Chinese screens but its box office generated 6.5 per cent of total Chinese ticket sales despite the cinemas being limited to 50 per cent seating capacity. China is an extremely important market for IMAX and 46 per cent of its theatres are in the country.
“After being closed for six months, the performance of IMAX theatres at the Chinese box office continues to exceed our expectations and reinforces our belief that audiences are eager to return to theatres where local guidelines allow,” said Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX. “The Eight Hundred breaks new ground as the first commercial film in Asia shot entirely with IMAX cameras and its strong debut marks a significant step in the rebound of the theatrical business in the critically important Chinese market.”
IMAX in China is about to release Christopher Nolan’s well-praised movie, Tenet, which was mostly shot in IMAX cameras. The movie hits UK cinemas today (August 26th).
As of March 31st, there were 1,616 IMAX theatre systems (1,526 commercial multiplexes, 14 commercial destinations, 76 institutional) operating in 81 countries and territories.
The IMAX stock market recovery also drew its theatre competitors along and saw Cinemark rise 10.4 per cent, AMC (+4.2 per cent), Marcus (8.9 per cent) and Cineworld up 6.8 per cent.