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Imax ended the year with its best Q4 since 2017 thanks to ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ and a Chinese blockbuster

Tom Holland as Spider-Man and Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange in “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

Sony Pictures

  • Imax ended the year with $638 million in revenue globally.
  • It had its best Q4 since 2017 and the quarter was up from 2019’s Q4.
  • It’s thanks to tentpole movies like “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Dune.”

Imax ended 2021 on a high note as the larger theatrical industry continues to struggle amid the coronavirus pandemic (notwithstanding “Spider-Man: No Way Home”).

The company, which specializes in high-quality cameras and projection systems, said on Monday that it earned $638 million globally from its theaters in 2021, double its 2020 total.

$277 million of that came from Q4, its best fourth quarter since 2017, thanks largely to “No Way Home” and “Dune.” Q4 was up 15% compared to the same period in 2019. It follows the best October ever for Imax.

“There seems to be an increase in demand from audiences to see movies in the Imax format,” Imax CEO Richard Gelfond told Insider during an interview in November. 

During the pandemic, the most successful movies have been franchise tentpoles like “No Way Home,” “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” and “Shang-Chi,” which has been to Imax’s advantage.

Imax has also benefited from the success of the Chinese theatrical market, which is now the world’s biggest. “The Battle of Lake Changjin,” a Chinese war film and the No. 2 highest-grossing movie in the world in 2021 behind “No Way Home,” was filmed with Imax cameras. 

The company currently has 700 Imax screens in China, with 250 signed deals for new ones in place. Gelfond said that the market could support as many as 1,300 Imax screens. 

Below are the top five movies for Imax in Q4:

5. “Eternals”Lauren Ridloff as Makkari in "Eternals."Lauren Ridloff plays Makkari in “Eternals.”

Sophie Mutevelian. ©Marvel Studios 2021

Imax total: $25.2 million

Domestic total: $164.7 million

Worldwide total: $401.5 million

4. “The Battle at Lake Changjin”battle at lake changjin“The Battle at Lake Changjin.”

Bona Film Group

Imax total: $31.6 million

Worldwide total: $902.5 million ($899.4 million in China)

3. “No Time to Die”Daniel Craig in "No Time to Die."

MGM

Imax total: $43.7 million

Domestic total: $160.8 million

Worldwide total: $774.0 million

2. “Dune”A picture of Oscar Isaac and Josh Brolin in "Dune."

Warner Bros.

Imax total: $43.9 million

Domestic total: $107.2 million

Worldwide total: $396.1 million

1. “Spider-Man: No Way Home”MJ and Spider-Man jumping off a platform in "Spider-Man: No Way Home."Zendaya and Tom Holland in “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

Sony Pictures

Imax total: $83.1 million

Domestic total: $613.6 million

Worldwide total: $1.37 billion

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