Imax: ‘Doctor Strange 2’ Biggest-Ever May Box Office Opening

Imax Corp. May 9 announced that its $33 million Mother’s Day weekend box office opening for Disney/Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was the biggest May worldwide opening ever for the 3D exhibitor. The movie also ranks as the fifth-biggest global Imax opening ever for a Marvel film.

The Benedict Cumberbatch-starrer generated $185 million across all North American screens, to end the weekend with about $450 million in ticket sales globally.

The strong Imax debut was led by a slew of historic performances around the world, where the movie delivered a top 10 all-time opening weekend in 48 of the exhibitor’s 68 international markets. That includes eight global markets where the film delivered the biggest Imax opening weekend of all time, including India, Malaysia, Singapore, Argentina, Turkey, Vietnam, Lebanon and Nigeria.

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was shot with Imax cameras and the entire film features an Imax-exclusive expanded aspect ratio. The film delivered $18 million on 410 Imax screens in North America, and $15 million across 350 screens in 68 countries and territories internationally. Imax also made the film available in 3D across select theatres worldwide.

“Summer blockbuster season is off to a roaring start with Doctor Strange — an excellent sign for the phenomenal slate ahead representing some of the most bankable franchises, filmmakers, and stars in the world,” Rich Gelfond, CEO of Imax, said in a statement.

Pending Disney releases in Imax include Lightyear, Thor: Love and Thunder, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Avatar: The Way of Water.

Imax screened the exclusive teaser of Avatar: The Way of Water, the sequel to James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster Avatar, before all Doctor Strange 2 showings. The original Avatar still stands as the highest grossing Imax film of all time, with more than $250 million in box office receipts despite an initial release of only 300 Imax screens.

“We are very happy to see the great fan reaction to the Avatar teaser and, given our historic performance on the first film, we’re looking forward to this great franchise returning to theatres to cap off a strong year at the movies,” Gelfond said.

Imax Touts Fourth-Best Fourth Quarter Since 2017

Imax Jan. 3 announced that with $277 million in gross revenue for the fourth quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2021), the fiscal period tally was the highest since 2017. Led by $83 million in revenue from Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: No Way Home, the December quarter marked the sixth-highest grossing quarter of all time for Imax.

The 3D exhibitor generated $638 million in global box office for the full-year 2021, up 146% from 2020. Imax also notched its highest-grossing year ever for local-language films in 2021 with $181.6 million — up 36% over its previous best set in 2019.

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“With our diversifying slate of global blockbusters and more releases than ever ‘Filmed for Imax,’ we head into a strong 2022 slate with great momentum,” CEO Rich Gelfond said in a statement. 

Imax recorded five releases in the fourth quarter grossing more than $25 million dollars — all of which were Filmed for Imax — including:

  1. Spider-Man: No Way Home$83.1 million
  2. Dune$43.9 million
  3. No Time to Die$43.7 million
  4. The Battle at Lake Changjin$31.6 million
  5. Eternals$25.2 million

At least 10 releases among the 2022 slate are filmed for Imax or include the company’s expanded aspect ratio, including Top Gun: Maverick, Thor: Love and Thunder and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, among others.

Imax Posts Strong Q2 Revenue Driven by Studio Theatrical Releases

Imax Corp. July 27 said increased studio movie releases contributed to second-quarter (ended June 30) revenue of $51 million, up 475% from revenue of $8.9 million during the previous pandemic-impacted period. Net loss decreased to $9.2 million from $26 million last year.

The high-definition 3D exhibitor attributed the fiscal loss to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the company’s network and included a non-cash valuation allowance to reduce the value of deferred tax assets of $3 million.

Major revenue drivers included Universal Pictures’ F9: The Fast Saga; Warner Bros. Pictures’ Godzilla vs. Kong; Paramount Pictures’ A Quiet Place Part II, and Chinese release Cliff Walkers.

“Imax is helping to lead the global recovery of the film industry and is uniquely positioned to benefit immediately as cinemas reopen, the Hollywood blockbuster film slate restarts, and audiences return to theaters worldwide,” Richard Gelfond, CEO of Imax Corp., said in a statement.

Gelfond contends Imax exhibition is distribution window unto itself, proven to draw moviegoers to the theaters, drive premium revenue, and launch event films into the ecosystem.

“We believe the table is set for a dramatic rebound for blockbuster moviegoing beginning this fall and throughout 2022, as a powerful slate of Hollywood tentpoles representing many of the biggest global franchises in entertainment arrives in theaters worldwide,” Gelfond said.

An infographic highlighting IMAX’s recent quarter.