Advanced Television

IMAX CEO: “The movies are back”

November 1, 2021

By Chris Forrester

IMAX is back, suggested CEO Richard Gelfond. Hits such as the latest James Bond outing plus sci-fi epic Dune (which helped IMAX capture 20 per cent of the record opening weekend’s box office) helped bring in the best-ever October trading month for the large cinema screen specialists.

“It is clear the global film industry has reached a turning point. The movies are back. IMAX is delivering global box office grosses in line with or above pre-pandemic highs as consumers return to theatres around the world,” said Gelfond during an earnings call.

No Time To Die was the first Bond movie to be shot on IMAX cameras. The film delivered IMAX its biggest opening for a Bond film ever in 24 countries worldwide in markets such as the UK and Japan, Hong Kong and Italy, South Africa and Ecuador.

“The movie business has passed an enormous stress test. For more than a year, consumers had easy access to an expanding world of in-home entertainment options and virtually no access to blockbuster entertainment in theatres. Despite that massive disruption, consumer demand for moviegoing remains strong as we have long believed more than 100 years of human behaviour doesn’t change that easily,” Gelfond added.

Gelfond explained that IMAX now has considerable clout in the business, commenting: “Studios recognise that IMAX is a window onto itself. We create value across the entire chain for blockbusters, from launch marketing to downstream windows to ancillary revenue. For instance, Sony moved the domestic release of Venom 2 up two weeks in large part to secure an IMAX release. The film was an enormous success at the box office with IMAX driving 9 per cent of the film’s domestic debut gross on only 1 per cent of the screens.”

Gelfond added that IMAX’s relationship with Sony goes from strength to strength, saying: “We have continued to grow our IMAX Enhanced in-home entertainment licensing business throughout 2021. We have grown our multifaceted partnership with Sony, adding studio titles and expanding onto Sony Bravia TVs in the UK and Japan.”

IMAX’s Q3 revenues increased to $56.6 million from $37.3 million in 2020.

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