By Robert Mitchell on September 1, 2012
Dialogue: Topper Andrew Cripps also eyes Middle East and Africa
During nearly 30 years in marketing and distribution, Andrew Cripps has become a leading authority on the business models and cultural nuances unique to every international market. In his new role as president of IMAX Europe, Middle East and Africa, he will apply his experience to expand the IMAX footprint. Cripps discusses his approach in different areas of the EMEA region with Robert Mitchell at IMAX's London offices, and looks at the opportunities offered by new technology and local productions.
Robert Mitchell: What is your key area of focus for IMAX in Europe, the Middle East and Africa?
Andrew Cripps: The primary area of focus at the moment is to expand the network across Europe. There are a lot of things you can then do: be far more flexible with programming; look at additional content, including European content. We're making a very significant investment in Europe because we believe the growth opportunities are there. Through the second quarter, IMAX EMEA box office this year was up 54% (to $58.1 million) over last year, so we're off to a great start.
RM: What are your goals for the expansion?
AC: I'd like to see us doubling the network in the next three to five years. We've got 101 theaters open, 35 in backlog. A lot of growth will come from the markets that are very strong with IMAX at the moment, but I think some of the growth is going to come from the big Western European countries that we're underrepresented in.
Read the entire article on Variety's website.
By Heng Shao on August 28, 2012
Moviemakers aren’t the only ones vying for a piece of China’s booming film market. IMAX has burst into China with its huge screens, going from 22 theaters in 2009 to 240 open or planned today. The mainland is now IMAX’s biggest market after the U.S., where it has 343 theaters.
China figures to become increasingly lucrative for the Canada-based IMAX. In February Beijing raised its limit on foreign films from 20 to 34 a year, and the extra 14 must all be 3-D, animated or IMAX movies. The deal nearly doubles the share of Chinese box-office receipts that movie producers may keep, to 25%, creating a bigger pot for IMAX and other theater chains.
The foundation for IMAX’s China business took years to build, starting in 1998 when Chief Executive Rich Gelfond made the first of his now 35 trips to the mainland. His strategy was to make friends with decision makers—members of state councils, mayors, deputy mayors—and ask: How should we do business in China? Year after year Gelfond would call on officials. Their demands varied from producing Chinese content in the IMAX format and exporting Chinese films to IMAX theaters overseas to opening IMAX theaters in third-tier cities, but he made sure they were met. He moved the company’s Asia headquarters from Singapore to Shanghai in 2002. This year, for the first time in the U.S., IMAX will release a reformatted Chinese movie, The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate. Read the entire article on Forbes website.
Thumbnail Photo credit: Wikipedia
By Kelsea Stahler on August 15, 2012
As someone who has in her possession an actual Indiana Jones costume and has worn it multiple times, let me just say: this is really, really great news. Director Steven Spielberg and executive producer George Lucas have finally decided to take their classic (amazing, life philosophy-inspiring) film Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark back to theaters the right way. No, they're not releasing it in 3-D, they're taking it to IMAX for a Sept. 7 release date. Yeah. As in September 2012. As in next month. It will only run for one week, but there are a few very serious reasons this re-release is awesome news.
1. The Opening Scene Was Made to Be Seen in IMAX.
From the sweat dripping down Indy's brow as he makes the switch — the Idol for his bag of sand — to the epic high-speed escape from the cave as a giant boulder rolls his way on a course for sheer destruction, the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark
was made to be seen on the big screen, so it's no wonder we'd want to see it on the even-bigger screen. And if that's only scene one, imagine what the rest of the film will be like sprawled across that over-sized canvas. Let me give you a hint: it will be nothing short of amazing. Read the entire article on Hollywood.com's website.
By Matt McDaniel on August 15, 2012
"Raiders of the Lost Ark" was one of the biggest Hollywood hits of all time, and next month it will finally be projected on screens gigantic enough to suit it.
It was announced on Tuesday that the first Indiana Jones adventure will have a limited one-week run on giant-sized IMAX theaters across the country starting on September 7. The picture and sound have been digitally re-mastered to look and sound better than they ever have before. The IMAX conversion process was so thorough, it even won over the toughest audience you could imagine: director Steven Spielberg.
In a phone interview, the three-time Oscar winner told me he was "dubious" when he was first approached by the team at IMAX about bringing "Raiders" back. Spielberg said, "I didn't know if the 1981 print would stand up to a full IMAX transfer, so I came expecting a sort of grainy, muddy, and overly enlarged representation of the movie I had made  years ago. And I was blown away by the fact that it looked better than the movie I had made  years ago."
Spielberg said he was particularly impressed how the IMAX conversion was able to make up for some of the limitations he faced when he originally shot the film over three decades ago. "All the shadows in the earlier scenes that we shot in Hawaii [were] always kind of muddy anyway on 35mm," Spielberg explained, "because we couldn't schlep all of our big arc lights down into this valley." The restored version of the opening scenes was quite a revelation for him. He said, "Suddenly, there was definition in the shadows, which I had never seen before. And the shadows weren't murky and washed out; they were sharp as a tack." Spielberg joked, "I sat there, I think, probably with my mouth open a little wider than it normally is."
Spielberg commented that it wasn't just the image but also the sound that has been revitalized in this process. When the giant boulder comes rolling down after Indiana Jones, Spielberg said, "You'll see it full size, and you'll feel it in your stomach." He said that sound designer Ben Burtt didn't recreate any new effects, but was instead able restore the original elements to make them clearer and louder than ever. Read the entire article on Yahoo!.
By Dave Itzkoff on August 14, 2012
It's the kind of revelation that would melt the face of any die-hard Indiana Jones fan (this time, with joy): "Raiders of the Lost Ark," the 1981 adventure film that introduced that globe-trotting archaeologist, will receive a one-week Imax release next month, Lucasfilm said on Tuesday.
"For me, it's always been the bigger the screen, the better," Steven Spielberg, who directed "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and the three subsequent "Indiana Jones" sequels, said Tuesday in a telephone interview. "It's the only marked contrast we have to the generations that are seeing our movies on phones and hand-held platforms. It's a complete relief to be able to see a film that many people have just experienced on a palm-sized platform technology, suddenly hurled at that them on an Imax-sized screen."
Lucasfilm, the studio of the "Indiana Jones" executive producer George Lucas, said the Imax version of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" will receive a one-week theatrical release beginning on Sept. 7, in advance of the Blu-ray release of the Indiana Jones movies, which will go on sale Sept. 18. A list of theaters that will be showing the film can be found online at Imax.com.
Mr. Spielberg, who with the sound designer Ben Burtt supervised the conversion of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" to Imax, said that no special effects or other visual elements of the film were changed. The audio, he said, had been enhanced for surround sound: "When the boulder is rolling, chasing Indy through the cave, you really feel the boulder in your stomach, the way you do when a marching band passes by, and you're standing right next to it." Read the entire article here.