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PVR, IMAX partner for five-theatre deal

LiveMint logoLiveMint 26-04-2017 Lata Jha

New Delhi: Film exhibition chain PVR Ltd announced an agreement with entertainment technology innovator IMAX Corp. on Wednesday to add five more IMAX screens in India. The move takes the total number of IMAX-PVR partnered screens in the country to 10, with the existing ones located in Noida, Mumbai and Bengaluru. The new IMAX theatres comprising a combination of new and existing PVR cinemas will be located in Delhi and other major metropolitan markets like Gurugram, Chennai and Hyderabad. Some of them are slated to begin operations this year, with all theatres expected to be launched by the end of 2019. IMAX currently operates 11 screens in India with 15 more contracted to open.

“IMAX plays a pivotal role in the cinema watching experience, having patented the use of certain kinds of acoustics and sound,” said Gautam Dutta, chief executive officer, PVR Ltd, adding that other technology innovators like Dolby Atmos (a surround sound technology introduced by Dolby Laboratories) or digital projection like 2K and 4K had also assured discerning exhibitors of better name and brand in the past.

“We started digitizing in 2008, whenever you invest in technology, you get dividends. But it is only IMAX that has worked aggressively to provide a handle to exhibitors to charge more (for the movie experience they provide),” Dutta said.

PVR’s IMAX theatres stand out for their projection system coupled with customized theatre geometry and powerful digital sound system. In the recent past, Dutta singled out movies like science fiction adventure Gravity (2013), action drama The Legend of Tarzan (2016) and Disney’s fantasy adventure The Jungle Book (2016) for benefiting most from IMAX technology. IMAX theatres come with a surcharge of Rs100-120, above the regular movie ticket fare.

“We’re really excited about this deal that will provide us showcasing in PVR’s top grossing cinemas in the country,” said John Schreiner, senior vice-president, business development- Russia, CIS, Middle East and South Asia, IMAX Corp. “India is a very strategic market for us though we’re vastly under-screened here and have a long way to go. But with a film like Baahubali 2: The Conclusion releasing this week, there is a lot of positive momentum.”

IMAX that is also opening two theatres in partnership with multiplex chain INOX this month sees markets like Russia and China opening up, besides India.

“IMAX is known for its technology of the future and high visual effects that give multiplexes an opportunity to charge more. There is a section of the audience that is willing to pay extra for the superior look, feel and experience,” said Abneesh Roy, an analyst with Edelweiss Securities Ltd. “For IMAX too, it means additional revenue, branding in India and an opportunity to participate in the multiplex boom.”

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