Avatar helps IMAX to record Q1
May 2, 2023
By Chris Forrester
Giant cinema screen specialist IMAX posted a record Q1 for global box office, driven by a mix of local language titles, especially in China, as well as Hollywood releases.
Overall revenue at IMAX came to $86.9 million (€78.9m), up 45 per cent from the same period a year ago of $60 million. And IMAX swung to a profit of $2.5 million, against a year-earlier loss of $13.6 million as the company was recovering from the pandemic and its impact on cinemas.
IMAX signed agreements for 28 new theatre systems during Q1 all for new locations except one, and has 63 signings year-to-date.
As far as Box Office revenues are concerned IMAX took in a record Q1 at $273 million, compared to a year-earlier $173.2 million. The global box office uptick was driven by a mix of Hollywood blockbusters as well as local language offerings, which accounted for 31 per cent, or $80 million.
Avatar: The Way of Water, the long-awaited sequel from James Cameron, delivered over $109 million in IMAX box office bringing the run total to $250 million, making it IMAX’s highest ever first-run release
IMAX says it is also looking to expand the use of its proprietary large-format cameras with special lenses in the production of local language movies in Japan and India after making inroads in China.
“The data is clear, that a theatrical release really helps a streaming release,” Gelfond told analysts when asked about major studios making a pivot back to the multiplex with movie releases as the pandemic ebbs away, and tech giants like Apple and Amazon making big bets on theatrical releases as they embrace the big screen experience.
As of March 31st 2023, there were 1,711 IMAX Systems in 87 countries and territories, including 1,631 commercial multiplexes, 12 commercial destinations, and 68 institutional locations in the Company’s global network. This compares to 1,690 IMAX Systems in 87 countries and territories as of March 31st 2022, including 1,606 commercial multiplexes, 12 commercial destinations, and 72 institutional locations in the Company’s global network.
IMAX has suspended all operations in Russia and Belarus. As of March 31st 2023, the IMAX network had included 54 systems in Russia, eight systems in Ukraine, and one system in Belarus.
Promising blockbusters on the release slate includes Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Fast X, The Flash, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny and Mission Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One.