Magazine article Screen International

IMAX CEO Talks VR and Original Content Plans

Magazine article Screen International

IMAX CEO Talks VR and Original Content Plans

Article excerpt

Richard Gelfond spills the beans on how IMAX is "branching out into new initiatives".

IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond has talked about the company's plans to branch out into virtual reality and original programming.

Speaking to reporters ahead of their European deal with AMC last week, Gelfond said that IMAX are "branching out into new initiatives".

Original content

The first is original content. It was announced last year that IMAX will debut the first two episodes of TV series Inhumans (below) at its theatres in September, before it transfers to ABC.

Gelfond said of the show: "We're involved. They're using our cameras, asking our opinions on things. It's a partnership but Marvel make the final decisions."

He added said IMAX have similar projects in the works. "One of my visions for the future of IMAX the company... if you think of HBO or Netflix, the way they started was by distributing Hollywood films. We've also distributed Hollywood films in an advanced way and we're hoping this will lead to original content.

"HBO and Netflix couldn't do that until their subscriber base was big enough. Now we have about 1,200 screens in 75 countries and another 500 in backlog. Our network is large enough where we can start to amortise the costs of these productions. It makes economic sense."

He said Inhumans, which the company invested capital in, was an attempt to expand IMAX programming beyond traditional blockbuster corridors. "September is a soft period in the movie industry," he said. "Blockbusters [such as Star Wars: The Last Jedi and The Fate Of The Furious] won't come out in September, so we're looking for programming solutions at softer times of the year."

Gelfond ruled out IMAX getting into feature film production anytime soon, however. "The network isn't big enough to recoup the cost of a higher budget film," he said.

Virtual reality

Gelfond also discussed why IMAX are investing in virtual reality. …

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