The supersized IMAX
Misr International Films will install IMAX's first commercial theater in Egypt at a new entertainment center going up in Cairo.
The deal marks another stamp in IMAX's passport. The company closed out last year's third quarter with 470 screens in 45 different countries. It's also validation for IMAX's platform, and a further addition to the company's unheralded moat.
A lot of companies, including some of IMAX's multiplex partners, have been rolling out larger digital screens in recent months. RealD
When it comes to super-sized screens in otherwise nondescript multiplexes, the "if you build it, they will come" adage doesn't exactly hold up. Most of these knockoffs are simply blowing up the original digital projections, and ideally jacking up the sound quality.
In contrast, every IMAX release is digitally remastered in a laborious process that costs millions to complete. There is a difference in the upconvert process, which explains why IMAX -- with hundreds of screens to justify the remastering tab -- has a moat that upstarts can't overcome with dozens of super-sized screens at best.
If IMAX felt its model were threatened, there would have been more to the rumors of a Sony
Last year was a ho-hum year at the multiplex, but not for those with IMAX screens. Ticket sales more than doubled to $546 million for Hollywood flicks on IMAX in 2010, and it now has a record 15 digitally remastered releases on its slate for 2011.
IMAX also has some skin in home theater, and not just because of the Blu-ray availability of some of its proprietary documentaries. It teamed up with Sony and Discovery Communications
The IMAX story is just getting started, even as it works its way over to Cairo.
IMAX has been around for decades, but some folks still think it's just a fad. What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a movie buff, but doesn't own shares in any of the stocks in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.