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Imax's International Expansion at Tipping Point

IMAX Logo - H 2012

CEO Richard Gelfond in Davos said global macroeconomics has the giant screen exhibitor closing in on overseas ticket receipts outpacing its domestic business.

TORONTO – Imax unveiling an international release for Iron Man 3 on April 25 before its May 3 domestic release, is hardly a coincidence.

Imax CEO Richard Gelfond on Wednesday said his international network of theaters is expanding far faster than it is domestically, leaving a tipping point for the giant screen exhibitor close at hand.

“There is no doubt in my mind international is going to continue to go up as a percentage at the box office,” Gelfond told the Fox Business Network from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, when asked about the company’s international outlook this year.

The Imax boss argued a corporate strategy that chimes with global market conditions could tip the balance of box office for the large format exhibitor in favor of international revenue as early as this year.

“It will do it in the regular movie industry because of the rising middle class around the world, and it will do it in Imax partly because our network is expanding internationally much faster than it is domestically,” Gelfond said.

The international push at Imax, including a rapidly expanding presence in China, Russia and to a lesser extent India, has been in part propelled by the addition of former Paramount executive Andrew Cripps using his overseas studio expertise to build out a stable of theaters in Europe, Middle East, Latin America and Africa.