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Imax CEO Discusses Post-Strike Hollywood and China's Box Office Recovery

New York NY USA-July 14, 2023 Members of SAG-AFTRA and other union supporters picket outside the HBOAmazon offices in the Hudson Yards neighborhood in New York (rblfmr/shutterstock.com)

New York NY USA-July 14, 2023 Members of SAG-AFTRA and other union supporters picket outside the HBO Amazon offices in the Hudson Yards neighborhood in New York (rblfmr/shutterstock.com)

Key Takeaways:

  • Imax CEO Richard Gelfond reports a "land grab" for 2025 release dates post-Hollywood actors' strike.
  • 2025's summer slate for Imax is nearly fully booked.
  • High-profile changes in tentpole release slates by major studios.
  • Upcoming releases include 'Avatar 3', new 'Top Gun', and 'Superman' movies.
  • Anticipation for Apple’s Brad Pitt-led Formula One movie.
  • China's box office recovery post-COVID is gaining momentum.

The Rush for 2025 Release Dates

Following the resolution of the Hollywood actors' strike, Imax CEO Richard Gelfond has observed a significant scramble among studios to secure release dates for 2025. This "land grab" comes as a result of delayed productions due to the strike. Gelfond, speaking at the Wells Fargo TMT Summit, highlighted that Imax's summer slate for 2025 is almost completely booked. This rush indicates a robust resurgence in film production and a promising future for the big screen.

Major Releases on the Horizon

Looking ahead, Imax anticipates a strong lineup of films. 'Avatar 3', set for a Christmas 2025 release, is among the most anticipated. The summer of 2025 will also see new installments from the 'Top Gun' and 'Superman' franchises. Additionally, there's excitement around the Brad Pitt Formula One movie directed by Joseph Kosinski, the filmmaker behind 'Top Gun: Maverick', which is nearing a 2025 release slot.

China's Theatrical Market Bounces Back

Another significant aspect of Gelfond's discussion was the recovery of China's theatrical box office. As the world's second-largest cinema market, China is beginning to relax its zero-COVID policy, allowing more Hollywood tentpoles onto its screens. Imax has seen success with James Cameron’s 'Avatar' sequel and the local language title 'The Wandering Earth 2'. Gelfond is optimistic about the trajectory of Hollywood box office and large format screen installs in China, especially with the upcoming Chinese New Year.

Implications for the Global Film Industry

The developments discussed by Gelfond have far-reaching implications for the global film industry. The end of the actors' strike has not only catalyzed a rush for securing movie release dates but also signals a return to normalcy in film production and distribution. The anticipated releases, particularly in the IMAX format, suggest a continued appetite for high-quality cinematic experiences among audiences worldwide.

Furthermore, the recovery of China's box office is a positive sign for the global film industry. As a major market for Hollywood films, China's reopening and the success of international and local titles on its screens are crucial for the industry's overall health and growth.

Looking Ahead

As the industry navigates post-strike dynamics and the evolving global market, the focus will likely remain on leveraging big-screen experiences to attract audiences. The next few years, especially 2025, will be critical in assessing the long-term impacts of these shifts on both the production and distribution sides of the film industry.