Imax Muscles Into New York Boutique Fitness

Courtesy of IMAXShift

The giant-screen movie chain will have fitness fiends in a spin cycle at IMAXShift, starting in Brooklyn on April 28.

Imax is looking to supersize the boutique fitness business as it opens an immersive indoor spin studio in New York City.

Never mind the small LCD screen on your local gym's exercise bikes. The IMAXShift studio, launching in a warehouse directly under the Brooklyn Bridge on April 28 to target fitness fashionistas, will have tiered rows of stationary bicycles facing a wall-to-wall screen filled with beat-based visuals and sound in a darkened room.

And perky instructors will lead riders through a tribal workout with choreographed songs and video running parallel with the frenzied spinning. "You could be flying above an ocean, soaring over the coast of Hawaii, you might be in outer space or the far-reaches of the galaxy," IMAXShift CEO Bryan Marcovici said of the big screen visuals promised to get spinners out of the saddle to shed pounds.

Imax is getting into a crowded fitness market dominated by spin studio rivals like SoulCycle and Flywheel with their own Hollywood celebrity followings and expanding studio networks. Marcovici said IMAXShift will set itself apart in the New York fitness scene with Zen-inducing visuals and music to get spinners pedaling for performance.

"The content is designed to bolster the riders to make them push harder because they're not focused on the pain of the workout or distracted by things outside the studio box," Marcovici said. IMAXShift will be priced at $34 a class, with the price coming down as you buy packages of classes.

Marcovici said the visual experience in fitness training is a natural for consumers already used to viewing screens of all sizes. "If you ask someone in Shanghai or New York, would you rather look at a wall when you work out, or an amazing visual choreography, I think we know the answer to that question," he said.

Imax is about to drill down on whether IMAXShift as a pilot test in Brooklyn can prove a profitable business where fitness fiends sign up for $34 classes, and return again and again for more pay-per-day spinning sessions. The concept is promising, considering SoulCycle last year unveiled plans for an IPO.

If IMAXShift takes off in Brooklyn, expect Imax to license the spinning studios worldwide much like its giant-screen theaters tied to Hollywood tentpoles have found homes around the globe.