It's a reunion that should warm the popcorn-munching shareholders at IMAX
Director James Cameron -- the man behind two of Hollywood's highest-grossing flicks in Avatar and Titanic -- is back today with Sanctum. Cameron's not the director this time around, merely the executive producer, but he's been actively promoting the underwater cave-diving adventure.
Is it blown up on IMAX? You know it!
Cameron's last brush with IMAX proved lucrative for both parties. Shares of IMAX have more than doubled since Avatar debuted on the big screen 15 months ago. The movie was more than just a box office winner for IMAX. Avatar validated the premium cinematic experience.
The company has gone on to ink deals with exhibitors worldwide, largely on the niche-defining success of Avatar, and studios have been angling to digitally remaster their releases for IMAX's superior projections. There are now a record 15 studio IMAX releases on its slate for 2011. Avatar's rich effect also enlightened theater audiences on the merits of paying up for premium screens. Leading 3-D outfitter RealD
Unfortunately, investors shouldn't get too worked up over Sanctum. The film is bumping up against negative reviews, with just a third of the critics tracked by Rotten Tomatoes recommending the movie.
The more encouraging IMAX development this weekend may actually be taking place in France. Disney's
Think about that for a bit. Studios have historically released their movies simultaneously on IMAX and traditional multiplex screens. What if studios begin tweaking their release windows, giving blockbusters a week or so head start on IMAX back home? Exhibitors would be able to charge a bit more than they typically mark up IMAX and IMAX 3-D screenings.
Studios may be hesitant at first. Would this disrupt marketing campaigns? Would buzz be lost between the two releases? However, it would definitely get studios thinking once again about maximizing their IMAX product.
It's already happening. TRON: Legacy has 43 minutes of footage specifically shot to make the most of the IMAX canvas, helping it nab $13 million in global IMAX ticket sales during its opening weekend.
Everybody wins. Studios, IMAX, and exhibitor partners AMC, Regal
Sorry, Sanctum. The real IMAX catalyst this weekend is taking shape on the other side of the Atlantic.
Would a release on IMAX before general release please you or irk you? 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 except for Disney. 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.