Imax plants latest ‘Potter’ as its holiday cornerstone

Film co. has big plans for 'Harry'

Imax Corp. has locked in its 2005 holiday pic — Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”

Toronto-based company and Warner Bros. are expected to announce today that they’ll bow the event film Nov. 18 on Imax screens and conventional 35mm theaters.

It’s the second time the boy wizard has graced Imax screens; last summer, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: The Imax Experience” became one of Imax’s highest-grossing digitally remastered films.

Helmed by Mike Newell, “Goblet of Fire” marks the fourth installment in the blockbuster “Harry Potter” film franchise, based on J.K. Rowling’s books.

Warner Bros. will be the exclusive distributor of “Goblet of Fire” to Imax theaters worldwide.

Distrib deal marks the ninth such pact between Imax and Warner Bros. Pictures — far more than any other major — and includes upcoming summer tentpoles “Batman Begins” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” which also will be released simultaneously in Imax and conventional theaters.

“Imax is carving out a new distribution platform that can generate incremental revenues for event films,” Warner Bros. Pictures domestic distrib prexy Dan Fellman said.

Securing titles such as “Goblet of Fire” is a key component of Imax’s growth strategy and is indeed fueling expansion as Imax continues to ink more theater deals around the world, according to co-chairs/co-CEOs Richard Gelfond and Bradley Wechsler.

Duo said the “Goblet” deal solidified the company’s strong 2005 release slate, which included the recent bow of 20th Century Fox’s “Robots.”