Topper brings 15 years prod'n, marketing expertise

TORONTO — Embattled large-format film company Imax has tapped Hollywood veteran Greg Foster president, filmed entertainment.

In his newly created post based in Imax’s Santa Monica office, Foster will oversee creative development, production and business affairs as well as marketing and distributing large format Imax films.

A seasoned production and marketing executive, Foster spent 15 years with MGM/UA, where he had a hand in the production and/or marketing of “A Fish Called Wanda,” “Get Shorty,” “Kingpin,” “Thelma and Louise” and several James Bond pics. In 1999, Foster funded uMogul, an entertainment industry financial services company; he will remain on the board of directors there.

Foster’s experience, his contacts, creative marketing and business skills made him Imax’s choice for the job, which involves outsourcing of original product and working with the studios, said Imax co-chairman and co-CEO Brad Wechsler.

Foster conceded that Imax’s allure has in the past been based more on “the Imax experience” than the quality of the films, and part of his job is to change that by putting a more mainstream spin on the pics.

Foster will also try to make the corporate end of Imax more user-friendly to theater partners.Imax has taken a beating with the worldwide downturn in the exhib industry over the past couple of years. Company, which had put itself up for sale last year, had to ditch its plan when no buyers came knocking. Late last year, Imax’s share price took a nose-dive.

“North American exhibitors have had a very, very tough time the last couple of years, and it put a big dent in our expansion,” Wechsler said. “Greg can’t impact that. What he can impact is ensuring that there is quality product when things do improve.”

Expect the new Imax strategy to be rolled out over the next year or two.

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