Japan’s AEON Entertainment and IMAX Corporation have announced an agreement for seven new, state-of-the-art IMAX with Laser systems across the country this year. Under the deal, all seven systems are scheduled to be installed in existing multiplexes by summer 2023 in areas largely untapped by IMAX — advancing the company’s commitment to offer The IMAX Experience. The new expansion follows on the heels of an agreement AEON and IMAX announced at CinemaCon in April 2022 for two new locations outside Tokyo and Osaka.
The agreement comes at a time when IMAX is driving growth across its Japanese network, box office, and local filmmaking partnerships. IMAX has nearly tripled its network in Japan over the last decade, from just 16 locations in 2012 to 41 today. Japan was IMAX’s third highest grossing global market in 2022 with more than USD$73 million in box office and home to six of the Company’s top 15 highest grossing locations. Furthermore, 31 IMAX locations generated box office of more than $1 million in 2022 — a figure second only to the United States.
“We look forward to expanding our partnership with IMAX, a provider of innovative entertainment technology, to provide strong support for our mission of enhancing the value of the theater-going experience,” commented Yasuhiro Asada, President and Representative Director of Aeon Entertainment. “We will continue to actively introduce the latest equipment and services that will add value to our theaters.”
“Japan continues to be an incredible market for IMAX, and we’re very pleased that AEON is taking the opportunity to rapidly expand our partnership and bring The IMAX Experience to even more of its customers,” said Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX. “From expansion in Japan to our record-breaking results with ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ to the strong, diversified global slate ahead, 2023 is already beginning to deliver on the great promise it holds for IMAX and our business.”
The new locations will be equipped with IMAX with Laser technology. Immersive by design, IMAX with Laser has been developed from the ground-up to deliver crystal clear, lifelike images and precision audio. It features a 4k laser projection system with new optical engine, custom designed lenses, and a suite of proprietary technology that delivers brighter images with increased resolution, deeper contrast, and a wide range of colours exclusively to IMAX systems.
IMAX’s momentum in Japan has been driven by a combination of Hollywood blockbusters and a successful local language strategy. Most recently, IMAX has generated 20% of total Japanese box office with “Avatar: The Way of Water” on only a fraction of total screens. “Top Gun: Maverick” generated box office of $18 million on IMAX screens in Japan and is the second highest grossing IMAX title ever in Japan.
IMAX earned a record $40.2 million in global box office with Japanese language releases in 2022 — up 26% over 2021. Japanese anime has emerged as a particularly strong growth area for IMAX, from the recent “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero” and “One Piece Film: Red” to 2020’s “Demon Slayer”, the highest grossing IMAX film of all time in Japan. Upcoming Japanese titles releasing in IMAX includes next month’s “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba — To the Swordsmith Village”.