IMAX goes beyond movies for live events
Mr Gelfond was referring to the rise of streaming services and the decline of traditional cinema. Both trends have been spreading for years, but intensified during the pandemic when many movie theaters were closed. The studios are now diverting most of their low-budget dramas, musicals, comedies and action films to affiliated streaming services. Leviathan’s fantasy franchises and sequels will continue to pour into theaters. But how will venue operators fill the gaps in their schedules?
Megan Colligan, president of IMAX Entertainment, noted that live events “often attract viewers who haven’t been to an IMAX theater and, in many cases, haven’t been to a theater at all. for a very long time, sometimes never.”
Ms Colligan pointed out that the IMAX events were not just about projecting content onto a very large screen, but would specifically use the company’s premium format technology. Mr. West and his team, for example, used 16 super-high-resolution IMAX cameras to capture the December earnings performance (out of 20 cameras in total).
“There was a lot of smoke and fog, and making sure we captured that properly was something that was really important to them,” Ms Colligan said. She added that Oscar-nominated cinematographer Larry Sher was the project’s cinematographer.
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The IMAX theater network has 1,700 locations in 85 countries. About 70 locations have been upgraded with instant simulcast technology, which equates to about 25,000 seats, or roughly the capacity of Madison Square Garden. “Our focus over the next year will be to connect our cinemas globally,” Ms. Colligan said.
With its strength among younger consumers, known as fanboys, and focusing on visual spectacles like “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” IMAX has a healthier core business than many movie companies. Steven Cahall, media analyst at Wells Fargo, recently named IMAX his favorite mid-cap growth stock for 2022, saying in a research report that the company “is the best way to play high-end theatrical experiences + the renewed studio focus on theatrical tent poles.”
On Wednesday, IMAX reported its best quarterly results since 2019. For the three months ending Dec. 31, revenue totaled $108.6 million, a 94% increase over the previous year. The company also reported a net profit of $10.1 million, compared with a loss of $21.2 million a year earlier. For the full year, IMAX captured around 3% of the worldwide box office, the highest share ever recorded by the company.