With interest in effects-laden films up, the large-screen exhibitor soars
By James Sterngold and Michael White
By the end of this year, Imax projects it will have about 600 screens, up from 266 in 2005. That could mean more prosperous times ahead, since Imax says its screens generate nearly five times the revenue of those at a traditional cinema. There's also the cool factor: Imax's giant curved screens, once best known for showing feel-good nature films at museums, have become among the hottest dates in Hollywood: Top directors such as James Cameron and J.J. Abrams fight to open their special-effects-laden hits at Imax venues to crank up the wow factor. "The benefits to the studio, I'm sure, involve higher ticket prices and having another kind of aspect to publicize. But the real benefit is that it's immersive and massive," says Abrams, who is producing the next installment of Viacom's (VIA.B) Mission: Impossible franchise for an Imax release. company—just about everything."