Pace of development is a challenge for IMAX in India: John Shreiner, Sr. VP, IMAX
Shreiner, Sr. Vice President, IMAX, on the brand’s slow growth in India, focus areas and the upcoming screenings of Marvel Inhumans
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The first two episodes of popular TV series Marvels Inhumans are all set to drive fans gaga come September 1. They have been shot entirely with IMAX® cameras and premiere exclusively in IMAX theatres across India. Still basking in the success of Dunkirk, which was among the biggest IMAX openings for an MBA film, John Shreiner, Sr. Vice President, IMAX spoke exclusively with exchange4media here he revealed his visions for IMAX to create an “IMAXimum” impact on the Indian market. Edited excerpts:
Compared to other countries, in India it’s been a sluggish growth for IMAX. Why do you think it has not managed to crack the Indian market yet?
I don’t think that it has not managed to crack the Indian market. But one of the challenges in India is the pace of development and growth with certain things. The first deal I had done in India was in 2004 and from that time till now we are constantly doing our best. The change is coming and will come one day. There are certain things that have been delayed in terms of bureaucracy and pace of development. They make it hard from a business perspective for the brand to gain momentum. For us, our pace of growth and development is where we want it to be. I took over the Indian market the same time I took over the Russian market but in Russia, we have 50 theatres open today whereas in India we have only 10. There have been developmental issues. However, we are very excited for the future and opening up three new theatres of PVR before the end of the year.
Which Indian cities are you planning to expand in?
I think we are expanding a lot in the major metros. There will be a lot more coming in Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Noida and Navi Mumbai. We are also looking at more projects in Pune as it is a larger market.
Dunkirk was among the biggest IMAX openings for an MBA film. How did it help scale up the numbers?
I think Christopher Nolan is a genius and the use of IMAX technology was another highlight. It scaled the business quite nicely as it is the no. 2 of all-time grossing movies in India.
What are the areas for improvement you are looking at and investing in for the brand?
Virtual reality is one thing we are looking at. We have invested in some virtual reality centres and VR test centres.
So with respect to Marvel Inhumans are you planning on more episodes? What kind of audience are you looking to attract to the series?
Like I said, it is a test. We will see how the first two episodes go and take it from there. I think Marvel and Comicon fan-boy and fan-girls will be attracted to this.
To promote this, what user-engagement activities are in the pipeline?
We are doing events, social media and online activations because that’s where the Marvels fans live so keeping this in mind we’ll be majorly reaching out and targeting the digital medium.
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