« Fake storefronts aim to revive depleted U.K. town | Main | Attention shoppers: Please answer your cell phone »

March 12, 2022

'Avatar' propels IMAX back into big leagues

It pays to worship James Cameron.

By now, we all know the box office power of Avatar, but who knew the 3D epic could actually turn a struggling business to gold?

According to a Reuters report today, the force behind the highest-grossing film of all time helped IMAX Corp., the big-screen Canadian theatre chain, post two dominant quarters after an unimpressive run.

Indeed, after a first quarter with a modest US$30 million in film revenues in 2009, IMAX has already shot to US$187 million in earnings during the first quarter of this year.

And the strength of Avatar  doesn’t appear to be an anomaly for the Mississauga–based company. IMAX says its audience has been revived by 3D feature films, projecting a “very strong year” ahead.

It’s hard to argue with them, too. IMAX’s revenue jumped an impressive 98 per cent last year on the heels of its strong fourth quarter, defying analysts who predicted much lower returns, according to the Star.

With plans to expand its presence in Asia, as well, this certainly is to be a lucrative stretch for IMAX – but perhaps nowhere will its success rival what 2010 may offer in North America.

Huge domestic releases this year of Shrek Forever, Iron Man 2 and the latest Twilight  blockbuster will draw in big figures, though the current and upcoming 3D billing could be where IMAX really booms.

Alice in Wonderland  was a diva last weekend at the box office, and subsequent releases of How To Treat Your Dragon, Clash Of The Titans  and – what’s most likely to cash in – Toy Story 3  will prove the 3D craze isn’t just a profitable fad but the likely future of cinema.

“If you use a baseball analogy,” company exec Richard Gelfond told Reuters, “IMAX is only getting to first base. I think there’s (still) a long way to go.”

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



Post a comment


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...