By The Wall Street Journal: Laurie Burkitt on December 17, 2013
BEIJING—China's Wanda Cinema Line Corp. is expanding its partnership with IMAX Corp. IMX.T +3.92% , signing on 80 new IMAX theaters in a deal that would make China the big-screen company's largest market.
Wanda, a unit of real estate conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group Co. and China's largest movie-theater chain by outlets, plans to open the 80 IMAX theaters by 2021, rolling out 20 each year starting in 2016, said IMAX Chief Executive Richard Gelfond. The company declined to disclose investment details of the deal.
By The Hollywood Reporter: Etan Vlessing on December 5, 2013
The deal will see the Cinema Sunshine-branded multiplex screen fitted for a next-generation laser projector.
TORONTO -- IMAX has sold another theater to Sasaki Kogyo, set to be the first in Japan to install next-generation laser projection technology.
The theater, to operate under the Cinema Sunshine brand in a new multiplex in Tokyo's Ikebukuro district, will have a projection system that promises far better brightness and clarity than rival movie projectors.
No word on when the latest Cinema Sunshine IMAX theater will open or install laser projection.
By Mashable: Samantha Murphy Kelly on November 25, 2013
When Katniss Everdeen rises from an underground elevator into the arena in Hunger Games: Catching Fire, IMAX viewers will see the film's visuals dramatically change.
The 50-minute arena sequence in this Hunger Games sequel has been formatted for IMAX, resulting in an immersive, larger aspect ratio. Instead of a typical widescreen image, with black bars on top and bottom, the IMAX image expands vertically to fill the entire screen when Katniss (played by Jennifer Lawrence) enters the battlefield.
The first few minutes of the changeover are particularly captivating, as water violently splashes around each character. The trees come alive in both color and movement, and you can see the sweat collect on the tributes' faces. The encompassing experience makes viewers feel as though they are in the arena.
"When I signed on to do the movie, I knew very early on that the arena portion would work very well with IMAX," Catching Fire director Francis Lawrence told Mashable. "The switch to IMAX hits you hard. It's stunning."
By The Hollywood Reporter: Pamela McClintock on November 6, 2013
Photo Credit: Annie Tritt
The large-format czar talks about the next international push and why Warner Bros. is the St. Louis Cardinals of entertainment.
At a time when moviegoing in the U.S. is down year- over-year, IMAX Corp. is on fire. The large-format exhibitor, once relegated to museums, is responsible for more than 15 percent of Gravity's gross, with moviegoers shelling out $20 or more a head in big cities. The Toronto-based, 550-employee company has seen its revenue balloon from $102.7 million in 2008 to $284.3 million in 2012 thanks in large part to Hollywood tentpoles, while its stock has rocketed from $3.35 a share in early November 2008 to around $30 today. IMAX's global creative czar is Greg Foster, 53, whom IMAX Corp. CEO Rich Gelfond promoted earlier this year to CEO of IMAX Entertainment in recognition of Foster's leadership in building the company's commercial slate and establishing relationships with studios. Foster, who spent 15 years at MGM before joining IMAX in 2001, also oversees the documentaries financed and produced by IMAX. The distributor will release a total of 40 films this year. Tentpoles can see an enormous boost from their IMAX runs; it's not uncommon to add $70 million or more to their bottom line.
Typically, Foster can be found meeting with filmmakers in his Santa Monica office or crisscrossing the globe, tending to 650 commercial IMAX theaters in 56 countries, including 350 sites in North America (not including 125 museum and other institutional locations). The married father of three grown sons remains a fierce family man and won't receive email via his smartphone. He recently sat down with THR to discuss what Hollywood can do better and why IMAX is on such a roll.
By The New York Times: Keith Bradsher on October 29, 2013
HONG KONG — IMAX Corporation, the Canadian company that has long designed and manufactured large-screen cinema equipment on the outskirts of Toronto, plans to announce on Tuesday in Los Angeles that it has set up a joint venture with a Chinese multinational to develop and manufacture $250,000 home theater systems in China.
IMAX’s decision to set up a joint venture with the Shenzhen-based TCL Multimedia Technology Holdings Limited is the latest sign of the powerful lure that China has become for Hollywood and its suppliers. Nicole Kidman, John Travolta, Leonardo DiCaprio and Zhang Ziyi showed up last month in Qingdao, a beach resort in northeastern China, to attend the announcement of a movie-themed real estate development that is to include 20 movie sound sets.
IMAX decided on a joint venture with TCL for the new systems primarily because it expects China to be the largest market for them, Richard L. Gelfond, the chief executive of IMAX, said in a telephone interview. IMAX also concluded that it needed an alliance with a large television manufacturer in order to handle the distribution and service issues associated with selling to a broader range of households, he said.
While acknowledging that low production costs in China had also been an attraction, Mr. Gelfond said that they had not been central. “It’s not because of the low-end cost structure but because it’s the market,” he said.
IMAX already makes $2 million home theater systems for extremely wealthy households at its base in Mississauga, Ontario, and will continue to do so.