IMAX released its third quarter 2022 financial results, showing a significant increase in IMAX DNA titles, primarily in the blockbuster segment. The report shows a record 12 IMAX DNA titles expected for 2022 Blockbuster, and the list of heavyweight movies continues through 2023. “Filmed for IMAX” and the new camera fleet will reinforce that even further.
IMAX CEO – Richard Gelfond – was interviewed a few years ago (pre-pandemic era), explaining the benefits of IMAX as he sees them. According to Gelfond, here are the main advantages of IMAX: “The screen is bigger, the resolution is higher, the picture is brighter, the sound is louder. I won’t call it a ‘Movie’ but an ‘IMAX Experience’,” he said and added, “It’s not just the director’s movie, it’s your movie, once you’re totally immersed in it. . When you see an IMAX movie, you can see it twice. The first time you are focused on the story. The second time around, you can focus on the stunning visuals.” Additionally, Gelfond said there is no home theater system that can mimic the IMAX experience, although a fancy system can mimic a “regular” movie theater. Plus, you get 26% more frames thanks to the vertical aspect ratio. Now, as explained, this interview took place before COVID. Post-COVID makes the platform very relevant for moviegoers. Indeed, there seems to be a growing demand for the IMAX experience by moviegoers.
The screen is bigger, the resolution is higher, the picture is brighter and the sound is louder. I won’t call it a “movie” but an “IMAX experience”.
CEO of IMAX – Richard Gelfond
According to IMAX Q3 2022 Financial Results (released yesterday), a record 12 IMAX DNA titles are expected for 2022 Blockbuster, and that hefty slate of movies continues into 2023. Additionally, 3D is back in the game, thanks to Avatar of James Cameron, who was shot on a dedicated 3D system which is the Sony VENICE 3D (on land and underwater). According to IMDb Tech Spec, the VENICE 3D is the camera behind Avatar 3 (2023) and Avatar 4 (2025). BTW as we know Cameron wouldn’t be filming on the same camera system in Avatar 4 and beyond as he would want to use more advanced technology which might be the new generation of IMAX cameras. BTW, these cameras are in development as we speak. Expect to deploy at least 4 new cinematic cameras (12 IMAX cameras in total) in the next 2 years (This part of an update is also mentioned in the report). This new fleet of next-generation IMAX cameras will provide a much friendlier user experience, weight benefits, user-friendliness and, no less important, reduced noise during use. Additionally, Richard says the fleet is being developed by a winning team consisting of Kodak, Panavision and FotoKem.
IMAX also states that there will be a “transformation to an all-IMAX product line with laser”. That means IMAX’s most advanced cinematic experience, advanced 4K projection and 12-channel sound. The days of 70mm analog film projection are over, which is a shame because nothing can compete with the 16K resolution of the IMAX 1570 (read more here: IMAX 1570 (Film) vs. IMAX Laser (Digital)). This comparison raises the old debate of film versus digital. There are, however, advantages to digital projection, especially laser, which makes blacks blacker and whites brighter. So it’s a matter of personal preference.
According to Third Quarter 2022 Financial Results (see slides for this article), there are a total of 26 titles that are targeting IMAX screening between 2023 and 2024. Here are some interesting names: DUNE 2, Avatar 3, Deadpool 3, Mission Impossible 8, A Quiet Place part III, Thunderbolts, Captain America: New World Order, Godzilla/Kong (another one?), Joker: Madness A Deuz, Creed III, John Wick 4, Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3, Fast and Furious 10, The Marvels, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, and more. Anyway, the in-game slides aren’t quite as specific, as they don’t indicate which movies will be shot on IMAX film cameras and which will be shot for the IMAX (IMAX-certified cameras under the program Film In IMAX – Learn more: ‘Filmed for IMAX’ Vs. ‘Shot with IMAX’: Which is better?). Either way, this is a hefty list of IMAX titles, which will be further expanded when the new fleet of 2nd-gen cameras are ready. When you think about it, almost any big budget movie will be compatible with an IMAX theater, because most likely it was shot with an IMAX-certified camera (almost all high-end cinema cameras are IMAX-certified, except for new ALEXA 35).
Shooting for the IMAX is no longer a rare earth, preserved by leading directors (Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, Michael Bay, etc.). With the new camera fleet coming in two years (Shot With IMAX Film) and certified digital load cell cinema cameras, almost anyone can shoot for the huge canvas. Therefore, IMAX-ing your current project is a much more affordable and straightforward process compared to a few years ago. Anyway, filming with a real IMAX film camera is very expensive ($1,500 for 3 minutes), and that won’t change anytime soon.
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