IMAX says it is looking to triple its number of theatre screens in Japan by 2024. In an interview with Bloomberg, ahead of the company’s latest earnings statement, CEO Richard Gelfond said he wanted to top 100 screens in Japan, up from the current 39.
Helping that ambition is a recent extension of its release agreement with Japan’s film, theatre and distribution business Toho. Toho is perhaps best known for its Godzilla franchise.
Japan is already IMAX’s second-largest market after China and with $14 million in box office sales contributing 11 per cent of IMAX’s total.
Also helping drive revenues is the recent release of the Demon Slayer movies, including Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train which was the second in last weekend’s box office in the US.
As to IMAX’s actual results, the company posted $110 million in Q1/2021 box office receipts as a strong rebound post-Covid takes shape.
“Through our unique global footprint, we continue to see first-hand that where audiences feel safe and the virus is under control they will return quickly to the theaters. Audiences across Asia continue to rediscover the theatrical experience in impressive numbers, driving record-breaking box office and accelerating the continued shift to blockbusters at the multiplex. As Hollywood tentpoles return to theaters, the recovery is spreading to North America and key additional markets including Russia, and Saudi Arabia with the summer season ahead,” Gelfond added.
However, he also informed analysts that the company’s CFO is leaving shortly. This helped drive the company’s share price down some 6 per cent.