Disney resigns with IMAX
The Walt Disney Disney Co., which hasn’t released a theatrical film in IMAX for over five years, has signed a five-picture deal with the large format film company. IMAX will distribute the films starting in November 2009 with Robert Zemeckis' “A Christmas Carol” starring Jim Carrey. Zemeckis' two previous films, “The Polar Express” and “Beowulf,” were released in IMAX.
Disney says it had not given up on IMAX but that it was busy launching its own Disney Digital 3D, which is a rebranding of the Real 3D system.
With the world economic crisis slowing down the expansion of digital and 3D screens, teaming up with IMAX, which has its own digital and 3D systems, makes sense.
The industry believes it has to achieve 3,000 screens to be able to exclusively open a film digitally and not limit its profitability. It is estimated that there will be 2000 digital screens by next year, 1000 screens short.
Disney has a long history with IMAX starting with “Fantasia 2000” which was exclusively released to IMAX theaters for four months. In 2002, “Treasure Island” was the first film to debut both in IMAX and conventional theaters at the same time. Since then, the studio has released several short documentaries in IMAX, with the last one being “Roving Mars” in 2006.
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