Imax Furloughs 150 Employees Amid Pandemic Impact

Richard Gelfond  - Getty - h 2018
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The large screen exhibitor is cutting costs mainly in North America as the major studios pull tentpoles like 'No Time to Die' from theaters ahead of Christmas.

Imax has furloughed around 150 employees for two months, starting on Oct. 26, as fewer Hollywood tentpoles are anticipated at the local multiplex ahead of Christmas.

The large format exhibitor, which is led by CEO Richard Gelfond, in a statement to THR said the cost-cutting, which as yet calls for no layoffs, will fall mainly on workers in the U.S. and Canada, and partly in Europe.

"The move will enable the company to temporarily retrench, conserve resources and adjust its operations to reflect the lack of Hollywood releases in 2020, and the resulting closures of exhibitors in key markets. The furloughs will not impact Imax operations in China and Japan, where local language films remain on the slate and theatres are fully open," the company said in a statement.

In Asia, Imax continues to play local language movies. That's unlike North America and Europe where the major Hollywood studios amid the pandemic have chosen to send more releases online, rather than risk putting them into the local multiplex amid changing consumer film-going habits.

Imax choosing to furlough employees follows MGM and Universal’s decision to push the James Bond pic No Time to Die from Nov. 20 to April 2021, reducing hopes of a box office recovery before Christmas.