Imax Finds a Niche in Digital Future
Moviegoers in Moscow who do not want to munch popcorn with the multiplex masses will soon have an alternative.
At a V.I.P. cinema that is set to open in April, they will be able to watch blockbusters on a large, curved Imax screen while lounging in oversize leather chairs. The cost of a ticket for one of the 80 seats: close to $100.
At a time when many media companies eye the digital future with dread, worrying about how to persuade consumers to buy their products when free information and entertainment abound on the Web, Imax, a Canadian company, not only gets consumers to spend but also gets them to pay a premium.
Imax had a very good recession. Global box office receipts at Imax theaters more than doubled last year, to $546 million from $270 million in 2009. Under agreements with movie studios and cinema operators, the company keeps about one-third of that revenue.
Only a few years ago, Imax was weighed down by debt and scouting around unsuccessfully for a financial rescuer. The turnaround has prompted speculation about possible offers for the company.