Imax Corp. has promoted longtime exec Greg Foster to the posts of CEO of Imax Entertainment and senior exec VP of Imax Corp.Foster has been chairman and president of Imax Corp. He will continue reporting directly to Imax Corp. CEO Richard L. Gelfond.Foster began working at the giant-screen specialist in 2001 and has worked with Gelfond on overall strategy and overseeing creative, production, film distribution, business affairs, marketing, sponsorship and studio relationships. As of March 31, there were 738 Imax...
When Greg Foster joined Imax back in 2001, the stock, which now trades near $20, was going for $1 per share. At the time, the company was known for delivering the highest resolution and most immersive picture possible to audiences — though the technology (then based on 70mm film) was almost exclusively used to film 40-minute nature documentaries.
Today, such educational fare can barely find purchase on Imax screens, which have expanded from institutional venues such as museums and science centers to megaplexes all over the globe. Digital technology has replaced the cumbersome large-format film reels, and cities that once had a single Imax screen now boast many (always the biggest cinema in the building).
What happened? Foster came to Imax from the studio side, where he had been exec VP of production at MGM/UA, at a moment when the company had begun to dabble in Hollywood partnerships, having collaborated with Disney on a special large-screen release of “Fantasia 2000.”
Foster focused on creating strategic partnerships with other studios, made possible by a proprietary new Digital Media Remastering process (DMR) that could boost 35mm prints to look their best on Imax’s massive screens. Early titles included “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones,” the “Matrix” sequels, and most of the “Harry Potter” franchise — which led to the successful repositioning of the company as the premium experience for studio tentpole releases (with higher ticket prices to match), while paving the way for Foster’s other major accomplishment: boosting Imax’s worldwide screen count to more than 1,100, 90% of which are located in traditional megaplexes.