IMAX Corporation: IMAX to accelerate plans for India after a huge year

A senior company executive said the global entertainment technology company IMAX Corporation will accelerate its plans to expand into the market in India after seeing healthy growth in box office collections in 2022. IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond, who is making his fourth trip to India, said, It is time to increase its investments in the Indian market as 2022 was the best year for the company after 2019.

“It’s the perfect time to expand IMAX in India because the stars have lined up the right way. Our box office is up 41% in 2022 compared to 2019,” he told ET. He said that “Avatar: The Way of Water” became the highest-grossing IMAX film in India. He added, “The movie made $4 million and is still going very strong. We averaged $900,000 per screen in the country in 2022.”

Gelfond said IMAX has set a target of 100 screens for India in the next five years. “We have 23 open screens, and another 19 backlog. We’re targeting 100 screens in the next five years,” he said.

He noted that IMAX has 800 screens in China with another 200 screens backlog. “India has a long way to go,” he said. “It’s so overshadowed.”

The IMAX boss said the company’s biggest success in 2022 came in the form of local-language films, which contributed 30% to total box office collections.

He added, “We’ve made great progress with local language content in 2022. IMAX used to be seen as a Hollywood-focused brand. But now, people say it’s the place to go for blockbusters whether it’s Hollywood, Bollywood or South India.” .

Gelfond revealed that IMAX’s strategy to grow its business in India is 3D. The company will release more local-language blockbusters, open up new screens, and go deeper by partnering with single-screen theaters. “We will double our bets on local films. We have made six films in a local language in 2022 and plan to do 10-12 in 2023,” Gelfond said.

He noted, “We’ll be installing six theaters this year. We have 23 open screens, so six of them represent 25% growth in our network this year. We’ll also target some independent single-screen theater operators across the country.” IMAX will partner with real estate developers as well as strengthen relationships with existing clients such as PVR, Inox and Cinepolis. “Together, PVR and Inox will be stronger financially than they were during the pandemic,” he said.

He also noted that Indian films are doing well in overseas markets by citing the example of the Telugu film “RRR”, which he said has collected $3.6 million in the US through IMAX.

He said, “IMAX’s involvement in Indian films is not only in India but also in other countries. Indian films are doing well in the Middle East, the United States and the United Kingdom. We have helped the Indian film industry gain international exposure.”

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