Rakuten TV Expanding Imax Enhanced Movie Collection to 100 Titles Across Europe

Imax Corp., DTS and Rakuten TV Oct. 12 announced an expansion of the high-definition movie distributor’s “enhanced” movie collection to include 100 titles on the Rakuten TV VOD platform featuring DTS audio and playable on compatible 4K UHD televisions.

The Imax Enhanced movies will begin appearing on the platform over the next six months.

“Rakuten TV users will soon have the opportunity to take movie nights to new heights with Imax’s exclusive expanded aspect ratio and Imax signature sound by DTS,” Sidharth Jayant, chief product officer for Rakuten, said in a statement.

The Imax Enhanced movie releases will be available across eight European countries, including the U.K., France, Italy, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway and Poland.

“Enabling a robust slate of additional content on service truly showcases the ways in which we are championing extraordinary experiences for movie watchers,” added Bill Neighbors, chief content officer for Xperi Corp., which owns DTS and co-owns Imax Enhanced.

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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.

Sony Pictures Expands Imax Distribution in the Home With Hundreds of New Movies

Sony Pictures Entertainment May 4 announced an expansion of its theatrical distribution with Imax Corp., encompassing hundreds of new movies in the 3D format over the next two years, including all upcoming SPE theatrical releases. The “Imax Enhanced” releases include hundreds of catalog titles, as well as theatrical releases for home entertainment available across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific regions.

Imax markets branded in-home “Imax private theatre” packages that include the required technology, screen and audio features for the well-heeled costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. The set-up can also screen Blu-ray releases, including 4K UHD.

The distribution format features digitally remastered 4K HDR content and DTS premium audio delivered through high-end consumer electronics and streaming platforms.

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The Imax Enhanced content library includes Spider-Man: Far From Home, Jumanji: The Next Level, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Venom, Bad Boys for Life, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Only the Brave, Men In Black: International, Zombieland: Double Tap, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Little Women (2019), and Charlie’s Angels (2019).

“The success that SPE has enjoyed in collaborating with Imax and DTS has inspired the decision to significantly increase our volume of content,” Pete Wood, SVP of new digital distribution at Sony Pictures, said in a statement. “SPE’s investment in the Imax Enhanced program ensures that we will continue to deliver even more of our films to audiences who now expect to experience movies at the highest technical quality — even in their own homes.”

Imax CFO Patrick McClymont said working with Sony Pictures and DTS is helping deliver ever-expanding roster of “movie favorites” across multiple genres.

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“We look forward to continuing to drive momentum on all fronts by working tirelessly with our leading consumer electronics and streaming partners on delivering breakthrough technology and content experiences for consumers around the world,” McClymont said.

Bill Neighbors, GM of Imax parent Xperi, said that with consumers looking for new ways to access movie content, Sony Pictures’ content library is a “seamless fit” with the Imax brand.

“[The deal is] preserving the films’ best-in-class sight, sound and scale for an at-home entertainment experience that truly stands out,” Neighbors said.

Now available on four streaming platforms in 14 countries and across 17 consumer electronics manufacturers, Imax Enhanced uses proprietary digital remastering technology to deliver ultra-vivid 4K HDR picture with more vibrant colors. Select content features Imax’s expanded aspect ratio — enabling viewers the full scope and scale of the picture. Imax and DTS have also partnered with Hollywood sound mixers to use a special variant of the DTS:X codec technology integrated in home audio equipment to deliver a signature sound experience with more immersive, powerful audio.

To ensure optimized playback of fully immersive Imax Enhanced content, the two companies are also designing “Imax Mode,” calibrated to deliver the best viewing and listening experience in the home.

FandangoNow Adds Imax Enhanced Titles

FandangoNow, Fandango’s transactional VOD service, is growing its library of Imax Enhanced movies.

The service by Jan. 14 is adding Paramount’s Terminator: Dark Fate, the Russell Crowe-narrated documentary Turtle Odyssey and the Jennifer Lawrence-narrated doc A Beautiful Planet, featuring views from the International Space Station.

FandangoNow is the exclusive U.S. digital retailer for Imax Enhanced titles, working in partnership with DTS.

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In October, FandangoNow launched its Imax Enhanced program, which combines exclusive, digitally remastered 4K HDR content and DTS audio technologies with high-end consumer electronics products. FandangoNow meets Imax Enhanced’s standard for 4K HDR streaming and uses a special variant of the DTS codec technology integrated in home audio equipment to deliver an Imax signature sound experience with more immersive, powerful sound.

 

Xperi Repositioning DTS Brand, Adding Imaging Tech

On the eve of CES Jan. 7-10, Xperi announced that its FotoNation imaging technology will be offered under the DTS brand along with its audio solutions.

“DTS will now move forward under a single premium brand inclusive of audio, imaging and sensing solutions,” according to an Xperi press release.

“Building upon DTS’s foundation of innovation in audio, our brand repositioning reflects our view that consumers will delight and engage in even more immersive and intuitive ways with their favorite content as we bring more integrated and advanced imaging and sensing technology to optimize content presentation and device playback,” said Kevin Doohan, Xperi’s chief marketing officer. “We are strategically pushing the DTS brand beyond the outstanding sound solutions customers and consumers have always known it to stand for, while integrating FotoNation’s trusted innovative technology and solutions under the redefined DTS brand.”

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At CES, Xperi will demonstrate:

  • Imax Enhanced, the premium home entertainment certification and licensing program from Imax and DTS available on four streaming platforms in seven countries worldwide and 17 device manufacturers;
  • DTS:X TV, a comprehensive immersive audio solution for televisions supporting decode, playback, and transcode of DTS:X bitstreams with full backward compatibility for streaming and disc-based DTS bitstreams;
  • DTS Virtual:X, which creates an immersive home theater experience using only a sound bar, TV speakers, or through speakers connected to an A/V receiver;
  • DTS Play-Fi, which brings wireless audio features such as surround sound, whole-home TV audio streaming, multi-room music, and app-based wireless headphone support to the entertainment hub of every room; and
  • DTS:XPro, an advanced audio decoder solution that brings greater spatial resolution to premium home cinema systems with support for up to 30.2 channels of audio in nearly any practical speaker layout.