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IMAX revenue grew almost 50% in 2010 alone

02.24.2011

Alright, I'm going to have to call bullshit on this one right off the bat. IMAX is touting new sales numbers that say that the format saw a 45% increase in revenue last year, increasing to $249M. Their box office receipts doubled to $546M and the Variety article cited credits HARRY POTTER and TRON LEGACY screenings as contributing. Uh huh.

The article also cites " new business models that include a conversion to digital and revenue sharing with studios and theaters" which is the REAL reason the format has experienced this kind of growth.

My theory is that a lot of the reason that the format has grown so much is that it's being shoved down moviegoers throats. Theaters tell people an IMAX ticket costs $15 (in my home state of Michigan), yet the screen size is nothing like the IMAX screens of old that you used to watch documentaries about oceans and Mount Everest on. In fact, the comparison looks something like this:

So why are so many people paying for it? Often times, because they have to. Here's a breakdown of movie times for TRON LEGACY that I might have seen a few months ago opening weekend.

Tron Legacy IMAX 3D ($15)

11:20, 12:50, 1:50, 3:30, 4:10, 6:20, 7:45, 9:15, 10:35

Tron Legacy 3D ($14)

11:00, 12:30, 1:45, 2:15, 4:00, 5:30, 6:45, 740, 9:20, 11:15

Tron Legacy 2D ($10)

11:30, 3:20, 5:45, 7:50, 9:15

Increasingly for movies released in the format, there are way more showtimes in either IMAX or in 3D. For recent 3D releases like JACKASS and SANCTUM, there wasn't even an OPTION to see the film in 2D at my local theater.

Theaters are getting these sub-par IMAX screens installed because they automatically raise ticket prices by 50%. Since there aren't too many movies shot in IMAX, whenever there is one, the majority of the times are on that screen, and if you want to pay less, your options for when you can see the film are far more restricted. Sometimes you have to see it at a certain time based around your other plans, and the IMAX time is your only option to do so.

Sorry for my rant here, but ever since they started installing slighty larger than average screens in theaters an calling them IMAX, I've lost all respect for the company. I got to see THE DARK KNIGHT on true IMAX (the big screen seen above), and it was worth every penny and it stands as one of the best moviegoing experiences of my life. But to force feed an inferior product to people and then rave about your increased sales is just flat out annoying.

Extra Tidbit: Don't get me started on the "glasses surcharge" for 3D. I CAN BRING MY OWN DAMN $2 GLASSES MOTHER****ERS!
Source: Variety

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+1
4:48AM on 02/25/2011
If you only go to the movies once a month with your girl: 30USD plus popcorn and all that crap. Two times a month? It's more than enough to just make the monthly payments for a decent home theather.. and you have the luxury of playing in your own field, wine, confortable couch.. you know what I mean...

Long live piracy!
If you only go to the movies once a month with your girl: 30USD plus popcorn and all that crap. Two times a month? It's more than enough to just make the monthly payments for a decent home theather.. and you have the luxury of playing in your own field, wine, confortable couch.. you know what I mean...

Long live piracy!
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12:44AM on 02/25/2011
Yeah, I wouldn't pay to see the budget Imax screen, it's the big boy or nothing. Plus wouldn't part of 2010's profit be because of Avatar, in only had 2 weeks of release in 2009?
And if you can't bring 3D glasses you've already bought before, just walk away, that shit is just plain robbery. Fuck them.
Yeah, I wouldn't pay to see the budget Imax screen, it's the big boy or nothing. Plus wouldn't part of 2010's profit be because of Avatar, in only had 2 weeks of release in 2009?
And if you can't bring 3D glasses you've already bought before, just walk away, that shit is just plain robbery. Fuck them.
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12:33AM on 02/25/2011

hmm

Whoa whoa easy easy it's ok.
Look, here's the thing. Imax may be licensing more screens that are smaller than others. Personally I can get to a MASSIVE Imax screen (saw Star Trek and Dark Knight there, blew my mind) as well as a traditional Omnimax screen that shows those incredible documentaries on, in under an hour where I live.
They may also be converting some lesser quality films to the format and yes, these things are increasing their revenue.
BUT look at it like I do. If they
Whoa whoa easy easy it's ok.
Look, here's the thing. Imax may be licensing more screens that are smaller than others. Personally I can get to a MASSIVE Imax screen (saw Star Trek and Dark Knight there, blew my mind) as well as a traditional Omnimax screen that shows those incredible documentaries on, in under an hour where I live.
They may also be converting some lesser quality films to the format and yes, these things are increasing their revenue.
BUT look at it like I do. If they increase their revenue they can move on more development with guys like Chris Nolan (working on soundproof, smaller cameras) and producing more incredible films (Have you seen Hubble 3D? or any of the other recent Imax doc releases?).
A little bird told me the man behind Baraka is currently gearing up to shoot a new film in that series (not exactly Baraka 2 but close) on Imax.
You can choose to see films in Imax or not, but it's not Imax who picks the showtimes or cheaps out on smaller screens, it's the theatre chains. Rant on them, not one of, if not THE most innovative and brilliant companies in the history of film production.
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8:06PM on 02/24/2011
They didn't get any of my money. I'm good with watching movies at home on my old cathode ray tv. They all look the same to me anyway. I don't see the difference personally. I can spend the same amount of money and buy a movie and watch it over and over on dvd for the price of one movie ticket. No thanks IMAX. Not worth it to me. But to each their own, so it's all good if you enjoy it.
They didn't get any of my money. I'm good with watching movies at home on my old cathode ray tv. They all look the same to me anyway. I don't see the difference personally. I can spend the same amount of money and buy a movie and watch it over and over on dvd for the price of one movie ticket. No thanks IMAX. Not worth it to me. But to each their own, so it's all good if you enjoy it.
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7:53PM on 02/24/2011
Luckily where I live, Orlando, FL, we've got one of the large IMAX screens. It's a great experience, but at $15 a ticket can get pricy. I don't plan on going to see a movie there again until The Dark Knight Rises. I paid to see a film on one of the smaller IMAX screens once and it was disappointing, never again.
Luckily where I live, Orlando, FL, we've got one of the large IMAX screens. It's a great experience, but at $15 a ticket can get pricy. I don't plan on going to see a movie there again until The Dark Knight Rises. I paid to see a film on one of the smaller IMAX screens once and it was disappointing, never again.
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5:26PM on 02/24/2011
"Alright, I'm going to have to call bullshit on this one" So are shareholders. This news breaks and earning is released and the stock takes a tumble.

I live in southeast Michigan and there are plenty of large chains to drive to and catch a film in 2D.
"Alright, I'm going to have to call bullshit on this one" So are shareholders. This news breaks and earning is released and the stock takes a tumble.

I live in southeast Michigan and there are plenty of large chains to drive to and catch a film in 2D.
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5:12PM on 02/24/2011

Doesn't really bother me

The closest IMAX to me as at the Harkins Arizona Mills and it's full size, since it used to only play those nature documentaries and such. Hell, their whole advertising campaign is "Arizona's largest and only full-size IMAX screen playing the latest Hollywood blockbusters."

And as a poster below me said, the extra surcharge isn't for the glasses, but for the extra cost of the 3D movie and projector.
The closest IMAX to me as at the Harkins Arizona Mills and it's full size, since it used to only play those nature documentaries and such. Hell, their whole advertising campaign is "Arizona's largest and only full-size IMAX screen playing the latest Hollywood blockbusters."

And as a poster below me said, the extra surcharge isn't for the glasses, but for the extra cost of the 3D movie and projector.
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3:44PM on 02/24/2011
For those saying "IMAX is not just about the giant screen," uh, YES IT IS. Ok, the sound and resolution on the fake, tiny shitty IMAX are still great, I agree. But the reason one goes to an IMAX is to see a GIANT FUCKING MOVIE ON A HUGELY AWESOME SCREEN.

It would be like if I told my friends, "guys, I just bought a HUGE big-screen HDTV and a new Bose sound system, come over and watch Avatar!" And they arrive only to find that I have a 22" 720p Dynex. With an awesome sound system.
For those saying "IMAX is not just about the giant screen," uh, YES IT IS. Ok, the sound and resolution on the fake, tiny shitty IMAX are still great, I agree. But the reason one goes to an IMAX is to see a GIANT FUCKING MOVIE ON A HUGELY AWESOME SCREEN.

It would be like if I told my friends, "guys, I just bought a HUGE big-screen HDTV and a new Bose sound system, come over and watch Avatar!" And they arrive only to find that I have a 22" 720p Dynex. With an awesome sound system.
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5:09PM on 02/24/2011
I was going to write a response similar to Firefly_Browncoat's (except not angry), but you sum up the point I was going to make.

I feel like IMAX is riding high on the confusion created by people going in thinking they're always going to get the giant screen.
I was going to write a response similar to Firefly_Browncoat's (except not angry), but you sum up the point I was going to make.

I feel like IMAX is riding high on the confusion created by people going in thinking they're always going to get the giant screen.
3:27PM on 02/24/2011

Argh!

Not sure where to start with this article.

A) You don't pay for the glasses, you pay for the premium. It's like buying cheap wine vs the good stuff.

B) IMAX is a brand name, not just the size of a screen. IMAX theatres are equipped with laser aligned sound, and boast the best sound on the market.

C)There is no theatre in the world with more than one IMAX, therefore it is impossible to have your indicated showtimes. Theatres utilize showtimes to maximize revenue, in order to do so they
Not sure where to start with this article.

A) You don't pay for the glasses, you pay for the premium. It's like buying cheap wine vs the good stuff.

B) IMAX is a brand name, not just the size of a screen. IMAX theatres are equipped with laser aligned sound, and boast the best sound on the market.

C)There is no theatre in the world with more than one IMAX, therefore it is impossible to have your indicated showtimes. Theatres utilize showtimes to maximize revenue, in order to do so they offer more showtimes for more popular movies. (DUH)

More thought really should have been put into this article. The lack of knowledge and understanding made me rage out so hard I finally registered with the site (after visiting for about 4 years) just to counter your rant.
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3:24PM on 02/24/2011

Malarky!!

Is there a way to find where LEGITIMATE Imax screens exist so we are not duped into paying for that horesehit pictured in the article? This has happened to me far too many times, and I am at my limit with this tomfoolery!
Is there a way to find where LEGITIMATE Imax screens exist so we are not duped into paying for that horesehit pictured in the article? This has happened to me far too many times, and I am at my limit with this tomfoolery!
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3:06PM on 02/24/2011
I can believe it considering the fact that more theaters are buying cheap imax instead of high quality imax. Personally if it was my call i would have what the theaters offer as imax instead be called minimax and the real imax keep its name. That way people know when they are getting the real deal and if they are in fact paying for the high quality ultra sized imax.
I can believe it considering the fact that more theaters are buying cheap imax instead of high quality imax. Personally if it was my call i would have what the theaters offer as imax instead be called minimax and the real imax keep its name. That way people know when they are getting the real deal and if they are in fact paying for the high quality ultra sized imax.
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2:39PM on 02/24/2011

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3:16PM on 02/24/2011
The non-IMAX parts were shown in a traditional aspect ratio on the huge screen, but it was filled entirely up during the IMAX parts of the movie, which were incredibly awesome.
The non-IMAX parts were shown in a traditional aspect ratio on the huge screen, but it was filled entirely up during the IMAX parts of the movie, which were incredibly awesome.
2:03PM on 02/24/2011
They also had Avatar first quarter of 2010 followed by Alice in Wonderland.

I do agree theaters are taking advantage of the audience by releasing fewer 2d options. I had the same experience with Green Hornet.
They also had Avatar first quarter of 2010 followed by Alice in Wonderland.

I do agree theaters are taking advantage of the audience by releasing fewer 2d options. I had the same experience with Green Hornet.
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1:11PM on 02/24/2011
Not everything about IMAX is screen size. Just sayin'
Not everything about IMAX is screen size. Just sayin'
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2:02PM on 02/24/2011
It's how you use it.. eh? :p
It's how you use it.. eh? :p
1:05PM on 02/24/2011
Seeing Spider Man 3 in IMAX was the best movie going experience I have ever had. The screen was huge and it was like you were actually swinging along with Spidey.
Seeing Spider Man 3 in IMAX was the best movie going experience I have ever had. The screen was huge and it was like you were actually swinging along with Spidey.
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2:40PM on 02/24/2011
I saw it on a small IMAX and dust kept getting stuck to the lens.
I saw it on a small IMAX and dust kept getting stuck to the lens.
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1:02PM on 02/24/2011

hmmm

I was not aware that some theaters are getting only slightly bigger screens and calling them IMAX. The only IMAX i goto is at the Scotia, formerly the Paramount, theater in downtown Toronto which has the larger screen in your diagram.

One thing that does bother me about IMAX though is the lack of previews. I swear if i have to sit through that damn "this is how IMAX works" intro one more time im gonna choke someone :D
I was not aware that some theaters are getting only slightly bigger screens and calling them IMAX. The only IMAX i goto is at the Scotia, formerly the Paramount, theater in downtown Toronto which has the larger screen in your diagram.

One thing that does bother me about IMAX though is the lack of previews. I swear if i have to sit through that damn "this is how IMAX works" intro one more time im gonna choke someone :D
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