Imax thinking big in Europe

Premium format gains ground on continent

Digitization isn’t just offering new opportunities for regular cinemas, it’s also led to the rapid growth of Imax Corp. around the globe in terms of box office and screens.

This year Imax has inked a slew of deals across Europe and more may be on the way.

Europe has some 57 Imax screens. Asia, by comparison, has 63. Imax CEO Rich Gelfond says new construction projects, particularly in China, helped accelerate growth in Asia.

“It was easy to fit Imax in a new complex where you’re starting from scratch,” Gelfond says. “In Europe, because of the zoning restrictions and the aging of the multiplex system, it was a lot harder to find good locations.

“But given how strongly things are going, people are looking at things like raising ceilings and giving away their biggest box. There’s more of an open-mindedness because of the financial returns.”

Eastern Europe has emerged as a receptive market, with a recent deal in Russia for an additional Imax in the Black Sea city of Krasnodar and in Croatia for a new venue in Zagreb. The group already has five theaters in Poland and the first Imax recently opened in Bucharest, Romania.

In Western Europe, the group is partnering with Gaumont Pathe for four new theaters in France and with Odeon/UCI for a sixth theater in the U.K.

The company is in discussions with potential partners in Italy, Spain and Portugal.

“I think this is the year we’re going to see a lot of growth in Western Europe,” Gelfond adds.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Digital News from Variety

Loading