Imax Plans on Hollywood Programming Blockbusters Year-Round

'Furious 7'

Imax Entertainment head Greg Foster told financial analysts that studios are carefully spacing pricey tentpole releases like 'Furious 7' to avoid a summer crunch.

Expect Hollywood to increasingly program blockbusters year-round on Imax screens after the giant-screen exhibitor on Thursday said the major studios are moving away from releasing pricey tentpoles on top of one another during traditional seasons.

"It used to be you had five pockets in the year. It doesn't feel like that's the case anymore. It feels like movies play 12 months a year," said Imax Entertainment CEO Greg Foster during a morning call. In place of traditional seasonal clustering of big releases, the major studios are instead protecting their investments in a crowded market with better pacing of tentpole rollouts.

"What's taking place is there are such huge investments made in these movies, and they're realizing that, when they see a competitive film go out, they don't want to open up on top of it. It doesn't help the long-term viability," Foster said.

"You have big movies opening in the fall or opening in January or February, which makes us a 12-month business," he added.

Studios like Disney and Universal, which are leading the new trend to year-round programming, are also prime partners for Imax, which has embraced smoother spacing of big releases. "The major studios are vying for our slots, basically for the pillar titles, and so we've noticed the spacing," Foster said.

"You see Furious 7, a month later is Avengers and a few weeks later is another title," he observed.

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