Date: 20th February 2001

Will Disney Rescue Imax?

Disney's announcement last week that it plans to produce at least five new theatrical films in the Imax movie format is expected to provide a big boost to the troubled giant-screen company, the Canadian National Post observed today (Tuesday).

"There is no question this is a significant event for us," Imax co-chairman Richard Gelfond told the newspaper, noting that movie chains that have been considering incorporating Imax theaters in their venues had been "looking for some kind of comfort that the kind of product they need is coming down the pipe." Disney announced last week that it will release an Imax version of Beauty and the Beast (that will include several new scenes, including a musical number created for the stage version of the film), a live-action "prequel" to The Black Stallion; a film about the X Games, a nature documentary called Birds of Prey, and a movie version of the Broadway show Bring in Da Noize, Bring in Da Funk. Said Gelfond: "I think in the movie business, there's a reluctance to take a chance. Disney is taking a chance, so others may be more willing to come forward to produce films for us."

Source: Studio Briefing