What is your role at IMAX and what are you responsible for?
In my role of senior vice president of theatre development and managing director of Europe and Africa, I am primarily responsible for overseeing IMAX’s growth and theatre expansion in these markets, as well as implementing the company’s strategy throughout the region.
Please can you provide an overview of IMAX?
IMAX is an entertainment technology innovator that provides the world’s most immersive film experiences through our nearly 1,500 theatres across 79 countries. This year we’re celebrating our 50th anniversary and it’s incredible to see how the business has developed to become one of the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe.
IMAX sits in a unique position in the entertainment and cinema ecosystem as we are involved across several aspects of the cinema process. We collaborate with today’s biggest filmmakers by equipping them with ultra-high-end cameras or leveraging our sophisticated post-production remastering process to optimize their films for IMAX release. We develop proprietary projection and sound technology as well as have patents on theatre design to create the most immersive cinematic experience available and partner with major theatre chains around the world to launch IMAX theatres in their locations.
We are also partnered with all of the major studios and work with them in the creative process to optimize their films for IMAX release and program our theatres to ensure we are providing audiences 52 weeks of compelling content.
At the core of our business is the brand we have established worldwide. IMAX has become synonymous with immersive blockbuster moviegoing and everything we do from R&D to marketing is focused on consistently improving our experience.
Describe your typical working day.
As my main responsibility is to look after development across a region encompassing more than 100 different countries, I spend a large portion of my time on the road. This means that there is no typical working day. It can be a tough lifestyle, but it’s one of the aspects that makes this job so rewarding. One day I could be attending a conference in Paris and the following day I could be scouting locations for our next IMAX theatre in Lagos.
Whenever I am not on the move, I start my early mornings at home by looking at industry news, reading correspondence from my colleagues in other parts of the world (we are a global organization with offices scattered from North America to Asia, so emails don’t stop overnight) and very importantly checking the box office reports from our team in Los Angeles to see how our theatres have performed. Once this is done I head to the office, where I can catch up with my colleagues from other departments. Around 2pm European time we start interacting with our headquarters in North America and this goes on until the evening, when I head home but remain connected.
What are the biggest challenges facing the industry at the moment?
The biggest challenge currently facing the broader cinema industry is drawing people into theatres and away from personal devices and home streaming services – particularly millennials and younger generations. We believe the best way to do this is to remind consumers of the magic of cinema by providing them with an immersive and truly differentiated cinema experience that they can’t get on a TV, tablet or mobile phone. You need to give them a reason to get off their couch.
This shift has positively impacted IMAX as we provide a premium cinematic experience that can’t be replicated and the consumer appetite for a breathtaking entertainment experience like IMAX is stronger than ever. This demand is helping to drive more theatre chains around the world to turn to IMAX to be the flagship attraction in their cinema and developments.
Whether it’s incorporating new cutting-edge technology in our theatres or pairing our extremely high-resolution cameras with today’s leading filmmakers, we are always looking at how we can raise the bar to deliver a cinema experience more special than anywhere else.
How is IMAX evolving to stay competitive?
A relentless commitment to innovation and quality is at the core of the culture at IMAX and our focus has been on how can we further differentiate The IMAX Experience to make it even more bold and compelling for moviegoers.
This year we launched our next-generation IMAX with Laser technology, which delivers audiences strikingly crystal-clear and vivid images. With this new system, which is the result of the largest R&D initiative in our history, we are providing increased resolution, sharper and brighter images, deeper contrast as well as the widest range of colors available to filmmakers to present more distinct, exotic colors than ever before.
We’ve also launched a new 12-channel IMAX sound system that incorporates new side and overhead channels to deliver greater dynamic range and precision for sound you can really feel.
While there’s a lot of technology at play the true mission is when the lights go down we want to suspend disbelief when audiences experience today’s biggest blockbusters.
Another way we’ve evolved is to bring The IMAX Experience to more territories around the world and adapting our business strategy, including our film programming, to better meet the needs of each market. IMAX was among the first entrants in some of the fastest emerging cinema markets such as China and Russia, which has spurred significant growth in recent years as these markets have become some of the biggest cinema markets in the world. We are always trying to stay ahead of the curve in identifying potential new growth markets.
The rest of this editorial will be published at a later time.