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IMAX Corporation Message Board

  • marketwatch_imax marketwatch_imax Jul 29, 2013 7:14 PM Flag

    Laser, Laser Big and Small - where's the market ? In the mall ?

    (This thread is totally open).

    ritz says, " I think in all future new Imax theater announcements you will see the word laser appear followed by either the word word eventually or an approximate date. "

    bslepicka says, " The lasers, should start a major expansion when they roll-out letting very large theaters go digital. "

    ekave36 says " This, in my mind, is a signal that IMAX has nailed it with their use of the Kodak patents and switching from Christie to Barco. "

    I expect you all heard that the IMAX system is for 80 - 140' only (at least so says the CEO - but that is so strange - the Christie and the Barco base are nearly identical).

    And that Christie is showing prototypes already in real multiplex theaters in front of real people and to AMC. AMC letting them in in the first place is somewhat telling about AMC/IMAX relationship, but if IMAX/Barco aren't going to provide a product then multiplexes can always go with Christie or others and would have to - and yes the initial reports for Laser are that it is better than the competition including better than IMAX ... cheaper and better than an IMAX sale or IMAX JV - theaters won't have much choice as to which way to go.

    At least for now IMAX has abandoned the multiplex laser market, so unless they change their mind or do a parallel R&D project or go back to Christie we aren't going to see "Laser" in most announcements from IMAX, we won't see any digital to Laser upgrades and we won't see Laser anywhere but marquees and new large screen cinema builds.

    It's strange - IMAX HAS to have something to offer in the smaller venues or they will go to other suppliers of which Christie is only one. I certainly don't want to start seeing announcements like:

    "Christie Laser replacing IMAX Digital screens" or "LPIC announces 2000 projector Laser roll out plan."

    With IMAX nowhere in the (laser eye) sight.

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    • Obviously, IMAX needs laser for big screens NOW NOW NOW. So that's what they're doing. I have no idea how long it'll take to do laser for small screens, but I seriously doubt that it would be as long a slog as initial development of the laser light source. If it needs to be done, it'll be done, no matter what Rich says this week.

      And I think it needs to be done. As long as I can look at the Sun in a movie and not squint, there's room for more illumination.

    • Marketwatch
      How are the exhibitors going to pay for the new laser systems when they just completed their shift to digital and amortizing that investment will not be complete for years? Most chains have high levels of debt to begin with so it is not like they have a lot of dry powder to invest in Laser. The studios have no incentive to help as they did with the savings from not having to manufacture, inventory and ship film prints. IMAX is uniquely positioned with no debt, screens in only the best locations to gain the best return on the new technology, a relatively small amount of screens to convert and a brand synonymous with the best in Cinema. My feeling is that if Laser is as good as I suspect IMAX will find a partner or get bought by someone who can finance a quick transition.

      • 1 Reply to ekave36
      • Laser deployment is not going to start next year and that includes for IMAX. Everyone has a shot at the new builds and that is what most are shooting for and they are open to anyone including IMAX.
        The rollouts do make sense. Just about when the digital amortizations start to expire, the laser offerings are scheduled to be available to replace them and they will. They will also represent direct competition to IMAX.

        btw/ there are significant risks that IMAX will not have a product by the end of 2014. Last year they said they would be deploying in 2013. In 2013 they say they will be deploying in 2014.

        The industry is also clear (and this applies to IMAX via Barco) that although they have and will have prototypes available it is not expected that the product itself will be cost effective for at least 5 years.
        That likely means that all the early contracts IMAX is signing are "loss leaders" to get the product on the market. This is common industry practice and something IMAX has done on all its prior technology swaps... but pay attention to the detail - they don't generate gain, they generate loss.

        Christie demoed G.I.Joe in the AMC Burbank in March and April. Not only are theaters interested, it is directly IMAX's largest customer who is putting on demos. The results are that the picture is better (than IMAX), the 3D is better, the theater only has one projector to deal with, the maintenance costs are much lower, the eventual projector costs will be much lower ... this is the future and it is happening. Lower cost and higher quality. There is no need for IMAX in the picture though. Even Barco is creating a Laser for theaters outside its involvement with IMAX.

        There is a perfectly valid reason for IMAX to focus attention on the dual 4K, possibly dual light engine, targetted to large format Laser for IMAX, but not entirely a pleasant reason. There is no apparent thing that they can do in multiplexes after Laser that Laser cannot do entirely without them.

    • But if they abandon Imax they won"t be able to call themselves an Imax theater and show the only specially enhanced movies, which are Imax movies. They will not be able to charge extra money since people are not going to pay more for laser projection

      I am now convinced that no one is paying any attention to any of your posts. So I will not reply to any of your posts no matter what you say . I will not put you on ignore because I can always use a good laugh

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