The death of cinema, it seems, has been greatly exaggerated. The rise of IMAX is what’s really happening.
There has been lots of talk over the course of cinema shutdowns about whether the industry would ever recover. Premium VoD, audiences reluctant to leave their houses and becoming use to watching films on the small screen were all flagged up as potential final nails in the coffin of cinema.
However, according to data obtained by Slashfilm, it appears that to some degree, the opposite is true. Audiences are coming back to the cinema and on average, spending more than they did previously, with a notable upswing of those customers who choose to shell out extra to watch a film in the IMAX format. This is true in the world’s two largest cinema markets, China and the US, with the mightily-impressive $400m global haul of Godzilla vs Kong, coming in part from a significantly-higher proportion of IMAX sales.
The report states: ‘In the U.S., approximately 27 percent of audiences are seeking out premium large formats to see Godzilla. Usually, that is closer to 15 percent. “People coming back to theaters are seeking out the most premium presentation first,” says Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros. Adds AMC executive vp worldwide programming and chief content officer Elizabeth Frank: “We are seeing more evidence that patrons are planning their night out. There is more demand for PLF showings and private screening parties.”
In some ways, it’s a return to the 1950s, when the advent of TV meant that the death knell for cinema was rung loudly and often. Back then, cinemas convinced audiences, often through technological means, such as 3D and colour, that the cinema was the best and therefore only real choice for audiences to see films in the best possible format. IMAX certainly holds the bragging rights at the moment for the gold standard in vision and sound quality, and as such, it’s pleasing to see audiences returning in droves.