IMAX chief says mobile video growth does not pose box-office threat


Increasing consumer interest in viewing films on smartphones and tablets does not pose a threat to movie theater attendance and revenues, contends the head of large-screen motion picture system maker IMAX Corporation.

"People are social animals, and I don't think they want to be chained to their couches, mobile devices and tablets. They want to go out," IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond said during an appearance at the annual President's Conference in Israel on Thursday, Reuters reports. "They recognize the fact that [filmmakers] Steven Spielberg and James Cameron may be better at telling a story than a 16-year-old over the Internet. I think they can exist side by side."

Gelfond added that special effects-driven widescreen blockbusters "cannot be adequately captured" on a mobile device. "You need to go to a theater to appreciate them. If you are going to leave home you want a dramatically different experience than in the home." Gelfond acknowledged that aspiring filmmakers can now create their own effects via computer for a fraction of the traditional costs, but added, "There is an opportunity for almost anyone to make a movie but those movies are likely to be shown on tablets."

IMAX designs and manufactures cameras and projection systems and also produces and distributes large-format films for affiliated theaters worldwide. There are now close to 750 IMAX venues in 53 countries, including 142 new theaters added in 2012. The company reported full-year 2012 revenues of $284.3 million, up 20 percent over 2011.

Annual revenues generated from content delivered to mobile phones and tablets are on pace to surge roughly $25 billion over the next three years, reaching $65 billion worldwide by 2016, Juniper Research forecasts. The firm expects video purchases to emerge as key driver of this growth, alongside games and e-books.

For more:
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