IMAX announced Thursday that it has set a new company record for annual global box office grosses, passing last year’s record of $1.032 billion just before the company is set to screen “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” as its widest release ever with 1,450 screens in 75 countries.
This is the second consecutive year that IMAX has grossed over $1 billion worldwide in a single year, breaking new records for annual Chinese and overseas grosses in addition to the new global record. China accounted for $341 million while international grosses stood at $368.8 million. IMAX also set a new record for grosses for local language films with $124 million grossed and annual bests in 22 countries including India, Japan, France and Germany.
The local language record came thanks in large part to a trio of films. In China, the blockbuster “The Wandering Earth” and the animated Oscar dark horse contender “Ne Zha” now stand as IMAX’s No. 1 and No. 2 highest local language releases in that country. Meanwhile, in Japan, the Makoto Shinkai anime film “Weathering With You” set a new IMAX local language record there. In both countries, 2019 marked new overall IMAX records with “Avengers: Endgame” now the top IMAX Chinese grosser and “Bohemian Rhapsody” taking the crown in Japan.
This weekend, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” will open on 415 IMAX screens in North America and 1,035 screens overseas, with IMAX expected to be a significant contributor to a global opening weekend that could grow as large as $450 million. That will lead the company into a 2020 in which at least five blockbusters filmed with IMAX cameras will be released: “No Time to Die,” “Wonder Woman: 1984,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Tenet,” and “Detective Chinatown 3.”