Imax to Screen More Hollywood Tentpoles in 2D, Citing "Clear Preference"

Issue 40 BIZ Exec Suite Greg Foster - H 2013
Annie Tritt

Issue 40 BIZ Exec Suite Greg Foster - H 2013

The giant-screen exhibitor says domestic moviegoers prefer 2D versions, compared to 3D.

Imax looks to be jumping off the 3D bandwagon.

The giant-screen exhibitor on Wednesday said it will play more digital 2D versions of Hollywood movies domestically, given a "clear preference" from consumers for 2D in North America, according to Imax CEO Richard Gelfond.

Imax Entertainment CEO Greg Foster confirmed during an analyst call that his company will start playing fewer 3D versions of movies and more 2D versions. "The demand for 2D films is starting to exceed 3D in North America," Foster said.

For example, the domestic release of Bladerunner 2049 will be shown in Imax theaters only in 2D this fall.

And, to drive more revenue from its theater network, Imax will play more movies for only one week on its screens. "We intend to shorten the length of play that we allot many films, which helps keep the content on screen fresh," Gelfond said.

Foster added Hollywood movies that use Imax cameras during production, like Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk, will have longer runs in his theaters. "We have to be very opportunistic about how we schedule," he told investors.

Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War Parts 1 and 2, from directors Joe Russo and Anthony Russo, will use the Imax/Arri 2D digital camera to capture the entire two-part installment of the global franchise. The move marks the first time a Hollywood feature film will be shot only using Imax cameras and its exclusive aspect ratio.