The comic book movie boom shows no sign of slowing down, says Richard Gelfond, chairman and CEO of Imax Corporation. Just look at the success of “Captain Marvel,” the superhero flick that marked a first for Marvel Studios with a female lead and dominated the international box office, for evidence that movie studios are finding creative ways to keep the genre fresh.
“This has a long way to run,” Gelfond said in interview with Brent Lang, Variety‘s executive editor of film and media, for the latest edition of Variety‘s “Strictly Business” podcast.
That’s good news for Imax, which has become the viewing platform of choice for fanboys and fangirls hoping to see the various members of the Avengers or the Justice League save the world on the widest of screens. These cinematic spectacles fit ideally within Imax’s DNA.
“The perfect Imax film is something that takes you somewhere you otherwise couldn’t go,” said Gelfond. “You’re immersed in the experience…The screen is bigger, the resolution is higher, the image is brighter, the sound is louder.”
Imax has also developed an ardent fanbase among A-list filmmakers such as Joe and Anthony Russo and Christopher Nolan. The Russos shot the most recent Avengers movies using Imax’s proprietary cameras, and Nolan, who previously used Imax cameras on “Interstellar” and “Dunkirk,” will use the technology on his next movie, a top-secret epic that will star John David Washington and Robert Pattinson.
Gelfond didn’t just talk caped crusaders. He also weighed in on Netflix and streaming services and their standoff with exhibitors. Theater owners refuse to show Netflix films like “Roma” until the company agrees to show its films exclusively in theaters for three months before debuting them on their service.
“We’ll only play films if our exhibition partners agree to it…but with that said, I do think it’s going to come to a middle ground at some point,” said Gelfond.
And though Gelfond is looking forward to James Cameron’s return to the “Avatar” franchise in 2020, he’s not entirely sold on 3D. He thinks that studios killed audiences’ enthusiasm for the format by rushing too many hastily and shoddily converted 3D films into theaters in the wake of “Avatar.”
“It just got flooded with taking movies that really weren’t envisioned the right way or filmed the right way and they were put into 3D,” said Gelfond, adding, “I don’t think we should force consumers to watch what they don’t want because we want a higher ticket price.”
“Strictly Business” is Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of entertainment. Listen to the podcast above for the full interview, or check out previous “Strictly Business” episodes featuring CBS’ David Nevins, HBO’s Richard Plepler, 10 By 10’s Tyra Banks, AMC Networks’ Josh Sapan, FX Networks’ John Landgraf, Spotify’s Dawn Ostroff, Snap’s Nick Bell, and others. A new episode debuts each Tuesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.