Imax and French exhibitor Megarama have expanded their business relationship with a new three theater deal.
Megarama will launch two large format laser projection theaters in France, in Givors and Boulogne-Sur-Mer, and open a third location in Rabat, Morocco. The latest deal will triple Imax’s footprint in France with Megarama and bring the number of Imax theater systems in that recovering European market to 29.
That includes 23 Imax screens currently in use in France and another six sets for installation. Paris-based Megarama recently opened its first Imax location in Bordeaux in December 2022, just in time for James Cameron’s Avatar: the way of the water play on the giant screen.
Imax also focuses on France with more local content including Indochine’s Central Tourthe first concert filmed live for Imax and released through the camera program Filmed for Imax, and the more recent release of The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan.
The latest deal with Megarama, which includes a location in Morocco, follows increasing demand for Imax’s giant screen theaters – including recent multi-system deals in Japan and Indonesia and another with Cineplexx Austria – after Avatar: the way of the water became the highest-grossing release ever for the theater technology company.
“Imax continues to grow and diversify its global footprint, and this new agreement with our outstanding partners at Megarama expands our presence in two key countries – including France, one of the world’s hot box office markets,” Richard Gelfond, CEO of Imax said in a statement Tuesday.
His company saw a similar spike in theater sales and installations in the two years following the original avatar film from director James Cameron was released in 2009 and expects similar outsized growth for its global theater network in under-penetrated markets, including Europe.
France has become a top ten global box office market for Imax, which just had its best first quarter ever at the box office in France with $9.3 million in ticket receipts in the first three months of 2023. That came close to the Imax’s record for the highest-grossing quarter of all time at $9.5 million, which was set in the fourth quarter of 2022.
In addition to Hollywood tentpoles enjoying an uptick in France’s box office fortunes as the impact of the pandemic eases, the French market has made gains at the multiplex after Paramount Pictures’ Top gun: Maverick and the Warner Bros. rock biopic Elvis betting on the promotional power of a Cannes Film Festival premiere.
Both France and Morocco are also one of 48 countries worldwide where Avatar: the way of the water stands as the highest-grossing Imax release ever.
“We are excited to join forces with Imax to bring our audiences an even more immersive and engaging movie experience. This strategic partnership reflects our unwavering commitment to providing our moviegoers with the highest quality entertainment and pushing the boundaries of innovation in the film industry,” added Jean-Pierre Lemoine, founder and president of Megarama, in his own statement.
By the end of 2022, Imax had 1,716 large-format theaters in 87 countries and territories around the world. Megarama has more than 280 screens in Europe and North Africa and is also involved in film distribution through its subsidiary Golden Film International.