Imax CEO Sees “Big Films” Back On Giant Screens Post Oscars


Imax chief executive Rich Gelfond said blockbuster titles will probably be back on Imax screens later this year, as per Top Gun: Maverick last year and, more recently, Titanic’s 25th anniversary re-release.

“Yes, I think they do. Especially seeing what happens at the Academy Awards, and what wins,” said Gelfond when asked on a conference call if some movies — from Top Gun to The Wandering Earth 2 in China — might return to Imax theaters.

“I think [for] films that do especially well in Imax, that are suited for the Imax screen, the demand runs for a very long time. And I think you will see some of the big films come back again.”

Top Gun: Maverick scored six Oscar nominations including best picture, along with adapted screenplay, sound, film editing, visual effects and original song. The Tom Cruise-starrer ($1.48 billion worldwide) was released in May and jumpstarted the global box office. It was re-released in large screen format for two weeks in December.

The James Cameron-directed epic Avatar sequel ($2.2 billion worldwide), released in mid-December, took a best picture nomination, and noms for production design, sound and visual effects. It’s the biggest first-run film ever for Imax.

The company earlier today reported softer fourth quarter 2022 revenue and profit. Gelfond cited a weak Chinese market that only started to recover quite late in the year but has done a complete 180-degree turn since then. As Covid raged, “Six weeks ago people were locked in their homes with drones flying over their heads and boxes of chicken thrown at their doors, ” he said, “How fast they’ve come to a record Chinese New Year” for Imax.

“I think we’re encouraged, but also want to be a little bit measured about changes in the world in another six weeks,” he said.

Covid is still with us. And U.S.-China relations, which no one on the call asked about and Gelfond didn’t address directly, are strained.

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