Imax Plans Biggest-Ever Theatrical Release For Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar'

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
'Interstellar'

The giant-screen exhibitor has scheduled 770 engagements worldwide for the film initiative

Nevermind that all-digital theater owners aren't impressed with Christopher Nolan's Interstellar film initiative.

Imax is going all-out to release the upcoming Paramount and Warner Bros. release. "It's the largest release in the history of our company," said Greg Foster, CEO of Imax Entertainment and executive vp of Imax Corp., on an analyst call on Thursday morning following the release of his company's latest earnings.

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Imax plans 770 engagements worldwide for Interstellar, mostly in commercial theaters, as it repays Nolan's loyalty to the giant-screen exhibitor. The space drama, which stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain, will hit Imax theaters on November 5, two days earlier than the domestic wide release on November 7.

The tentpole, to screen in 35mm, 70mm and in Imax 70mm, will then reach theaters in China a week later on November 14. The New York City premiere for Interstellar will be in an Imax theater, and a promotional launch planned for the British Film Institute in London will also be on an Imax screen, Foster noted.

Watch more The Hollywood Reporter's Full 'Interstellar' Discussion With Christopher Nolan, Stars

Nolan and the Interstellar cast are also due this Sunday at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood for a glitzy red carpet premiere for the picture.

The Toronto-based giant-screen exhibitor has also held "taste-maker" screenings over the last week at its theaters in New York City and San Francisco and another on Wednesday night at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

"We're doing everything that we can possibly can. The movie represents most everything that Imax tries to uphold in terms of our brand and the responsibility to the filmmaker and the quality of the film itself," Foster added. Nolan, a fan of the Imax format, shot just over an hour of Interstellar using the company's proprietary cameras.

Imax on Thursday also reiterated its support for next year's release of the Weinstein Co. sequel Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend by director Ang Lee. That's despite exhibitor opposition to the Aug. 28, 2015 debut on Netflix and in select Imax theaters around the world, bypassing traditional theaters.

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Imax CEO Richard Gelfond told analysts he called exhibitors to smooth out their differences. "They said, we get it. There's been no real fallout between us and them. We're still really good friends. There's still lots of signings. So think of it as a dispute in the family," Gelfond said. He added Imax was looking to provide "alternative content" during a slow releasing period, and was waiting to see how the experiment will turn out.

"Despite the statements, there will be some exhibitors that play [the Crouching Tiger sequel]. We'll find out how it does. If it doesn't work, it won't be part of a trend. But if it does work out, then we'll probably offer the opportunity again," he said.

Updated Oct. 23 2:00 p.m. Information added on the TCL Chinese Theater premiere for Interstellar.

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