Mississauga-based theatre company Imax says it is willing to work with streaming companies like Netflix, as long as a number of conditions are met.
Speaking to reporters at the Cannes Film Festival in France, Imax CEO Rich Gelfond said it wants streaming services to deliver blockbuster content and respect theatrical release windows.
“For us it’s more content, and if the content is what I call ‘Imax-worthy,’ meaning it can be a wonderful experience that we can enhance and people across cultures can enjoy…then we want to be involved and to do it, with the [caveat being] as long as it respects the windows.”
That said, Gelfond said “there really hasn’t been an Imax-worthy film that a streaming service has released” until recently.
“Despite a lot of talk about the streaming services going into blockbuster content, they really haven’t pulled it off yet. They are just starting to migrate into that area. I think they will continue to, but they are a long way away.”
To that point, Imax has recently partnered with Amazon Studios on the release of Tom Harper’s The Aeronauts, which stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones and will release for one week in Imax theatres starting October 25th.
Thrilled to announce that @AmazonStudios @theaeronautsmov will be released exclusively in IMAX theatres for one week starting Oct. 25! Key action sequences were specially formatted for #IMAX, so you can see up to 26% more picture. pic.twitter.com/61rvYKvDE7
— IMAX (@IMAX) May 14, 2019
However, Gelfond wouldn’t take a side in the ongoing battle between old-school Hollywood — such as the Academy and venerable director Steven Spielberg — and streaming services.
Earlier this year, reports surfaced that Spielberg felt original films from streaming services shouldn’t be eligible for an Academy Award, arguing that they’re more suited for the Emmy’s due to them being watched predominantly outside of theatres.
However, a more recent report from The New York Times indicated that Spielberg’s sentiments were being misquoted and that he simply wants some hard-set rules for eligibility of streaming service films.
“I think with a lot of trends such as the studios getting into the streaming business…the streaming companies making more blockbuster films, there’s going to be a lot of incentive over time to reach some kid of compromise,” said Gelfond.