Batman may well have saved traditional cinema this year. The renowned massive-screen exhibitor IMAX saw its revenue rise 19.5 percent from $67.5 million to $80.7 million in just a quarter.
It’s a good sign for cinemas within the network. IMAX’s latest profits display a recovering cinema audience, all while having beaten Wall Street predictions made earlier in the year.
Sales jumped thanks to big-concept title signings, directly inviting an increased attendance for films like Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises.
Summer is traditionally an intense period for IMAX, when surprise blockbusters are not always mammoth-encoded screenings. Christopher Nolan’s well-known predication for IMAX cameras – of which there are now only 2 in the world – meant that The Dark Knight Rises‘ 72 minutes worth of IMAX footage ensured that the theatre company’s whopping 70mm screens became the cooler format for watching the end of the trilogy.
“Our strong quarterly financial results once again demonstrate how much the IMAX business model has evolved,” IMAX Chief Executive Officer Richard L. Gelfond said in a statement. “We believe IMAX has become a story of growth and operating leverage, and our pipeline for future theatre deals remains robust.”
This year has seen IMAX distribute Prometheus, The Amazing Spiderman and high-achiever movie, The Avengers. IMAX’s future signings for the Winter season look positive. Predicted blockbuster The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be out over Christmas, followed quickly by sequel to The Hunger Games, ‘Catching Fire‘ in cinemas by January 2013. In exo-Hollywood territories, India’s extremely popular franchise ‘Dhoom’ will screen its third episode, which is expected to draw massive audiences across the country.
Do better formats and the promise of high quality ensure an active audience? Is buying an IMAX ticket buying an experience, not ‘just’ a movie?