The Chinese box office “close to a turning point”, underlines that “the films are back”

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Hot on the heels of IMAX’s (IMAX) strong second quarter earnings report, CEO Richard Gelfond is more than confident the movies are back in business.

“It’s not just that movies are back, they’re back for different age groups,” Gelfond told Yahoo Finance Live in a new interview, referring to the wide variety of content available.

‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’, ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ and ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ helped boost overall box office performance in the second quarter, with worldwide box office totals hitting 247.7 million, an increase of 128% year-on-year.

Still, the executive warned the production pipeline would slow in the third quarter, citing pandemic backlogs; however, he maintained that IMAX benefits greatly from its overseas business with only about a third of its revenue coming from the United States.

IMAX screens accounted for 14% of the $160.5 million domestic opening weekend of ‘Top: Gun: Maverick’s’ (Courtesy Paramount)

IMAX plans to expand its global reach by releasing 15 local language titles in 50 global markets during the third quarter.

Gelfond added on the earnings call that IMAX is reaching out to streaming companies for “downstream licensing opportunities,” in addition to exploring more global experiences and live events beyond. blockbusters.

“We’ve moved away from the traditional blockbuster-only model, even though it sounds weird… there’s a lot more depth to it,” the exec noted.

He added, “you have to leverage those blockbusters, which we did well, but also provide alternative content.”

“We are close to the turning point in China”

Last month, Beijing and Shanghai – key markets for the international box office – announced that they start to reopen after about two months of intense lockdowns that forced citizens to stay indoors.

The second quarter bore the brunt of these closures, with most cinemas in the region remaining closed; however, the company revealed that 91% of IMAX screens are currently operating in the country, up from 65% on April 26.

Box office receipts in China fell 46% in the quarter, contributing just 11% to the global total.

The box office was definitely depressed for the first six months of the year,” admitted Gelfond, but stressed that “we are close to the turning point in China.”

Overall attendance in China saw “reduced capacity” due to a lack of content, but Gelfond predicts more movie approvals, like the upcoming sequel “Avatar,” should help drive traffic. , in addition to the increase in local language films.

IMAX is down about 10% since the start of the year.

Alexandra is a senior entertainment and food reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193 and email her at [email protected]

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