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IMAX is ramping up its operations in France, as well as expanding its longstanding relationship with Kinepolis in Europe and North America. In France, IMAX will aim to nearly triple the number of its systems from the 22 currently in operation to more than 60. One of those will be in partnership with Belgian exhibitor Kinepolis in Nimes.
Also with Kinepolis, a further seven IMAX with Laser systems are due to roll out in Belgium, Spain, Luxembourg, Michigan and Ontario.
With regard to France, IMAX has been driving strong momentum across box office, network growth and its content portfolio. The market has seen one of the strongest post-pandemic rebounds and is IMAX’s No. 7 market globally so far in 2023. The company delivered its best first quarter ever at the French box office with $9.3M in Q1 — on the heels of its highest grossing quarter of all time in France with $9.5M in Q4 2022.
So far this year, IMAX has generated more than 50% of what it did in 2019 in France, which was its highest grossing year ever there with $21.9M. Avatar: The Way of Water earlier this year became IMAX’s biggest movie of all time in France with $13.5M, while its local language strategy continues to build, including such recent titles as Notre-Dame On Fire (the first French film shot with IMAX cameras) and The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan, now the company’s highest-grossing French title ever.
Meanwhile, the entertainment technology firm’s new pact with Kinepolis nearly doubles its footprint with the exhibitor and its subsidiaries, including a first-time collaboration with U.S. group MJR Cinemas. At present, IMAX partners with Kinepolis and its subsidiaries on seven locations across Belgium and Canada. Under the agreement unveiled today at the Cannes Film Festival, IMAX will enter new territories with Kinepolis in Canada, Belgium, France, Spain and Luxembourg.
“This agreement shows our continued commitment to invest in the ultimate movie experience, allowing more film lovers the opportunity to watch films in IMAX,” said Eddy Duquenne, CEO of Kinepolis Group. “Moviegoers increasingly expect premium movie experiences and we know from our customers IMAX meets those expectations in every way. We are happy and proud to announce this extended partnership, which we believe will bring value to everyone involved.”
Commented IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond, “In a year in which IMAX continues to drive very strong sales activity, this agreement marks our biggest multi-territory deal to date — underscoring the surging demand for the IMAX Experience across regions and even into new markets. Kinepolis is an outstanding international exhibitor and we look forward to serving more of their customers across the world as the company deepens its commitment to providing the best possible cinematic experiences.”
The deal was established as an amalgamation of signings with Kinepolis and their wholly owned subsidiaries, MJR Digital Cinemas and Landmark. MJR Digital Cinemas operates locally in the Metro Detroit area in Michigan, while Landmark operates theaters across several provinces in Canada.