SmartMoney talks about the IMAX gamble for major motion pictures. Matrix Revolutions is going to be the first released on the date, and here's a Lucasfilm comment on Episode III's fate there as well:
Betting on its own breakout, Imax last year rolled out Imax DMR technology, which reformats 35mm live-action films to play on Imax's giant screens. This year, it introduced its Imax MPX system, which brings down the cost of an Imax system for exhibitors and allows theater operators to put an Imax theater in an existing multiplex or turn two multiplex auditoriums into an Imax house.
"Driving down costs while making a more concentrated effort to get more commercial content will make Imax a much more financially attractive proposition for exhibitors," Mr. Gelfond said. That's important to Imax, which makes its money by leasing the systems to theaters and collecting royalty payments.
Using Imax DMR, Lucasfilm Ltd., through distributor Fox Entertainment Group Inc. (FOX), ran "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones" on Imax screens in November after its initial run in 35mm began in May. That six-week run across 58 Imax screens added $8.5 million to the film's domestic box office.
Lucasfilm was "pleased" with the box-office of the film's Imax run but says it's too early to think about a first-run for the next film in the Star Wars series, which isn't due until 2005, said Lucasfilm spokeswoman Jeanne Cole. "We may consider it when we are getting ready to release Episode 3."