IMAX Signs First Theater Agreement in Nigeria
IMAX Corporation and Filmhouse Cinemas, which operates the largest chain of movie theatres in Nigeria, are partnering to build an IMAX theatre in Lagos, the nation’s biggest city with a population of more than 20 million.
The deal marks the first-ever IMAX agreement in Nigeria and its first in West Africa and “underscores the company’s continued expansion in Africa, where in the past year it reached its first-ever deal in Angola and added four new theatres to its network in South Africa.
“We are delighted to join forces with Filmhouse Cinemas and enter Nigeria, which represents a key strategic move for our expansion in Africa. Recent reports project that Nigeria’s entertainment and media revenues will reach an estimated $8.5 billion by 2018 – more than doubling from 2013,” said Andrew Cripps, president of IMAX’s EMEA Group.
“Our mission is to establish the best movie-going experience in Nigeria. IMAX will help us realize this goal by delivering an immersive and differentiated experience previously unavailable to Nigerian moviegoers,” said Kene Mkparu, CEO, Filmhouse Cinemas.
Filmhouse is currently implementing a strategic development plan to roll-out twenty five cinemas over a six year period ending in 2018.
The company’s proprietary IMAX – short for Image Maximum – cinema technology allows films to be recorded and displayed in far greater size and resolution than conventional film systems.
According to the Los Angeles-based Macquarie Group, the rapid expansion of Africa’s middle class is energizing IMAX’s efforts. Nigeria has the largest economy on the continent and, by 2050, will have the third-largest urban population in the world, only trailing China and India.
“Moreover, the continent’s urban population is expected to grow 4.3 percent per year through 2050, much faster than Asia’s 1.8 percent a year. People moving to cities imply higher income and consumption rates,” the industry analyst said. “As middle class consumption patterns are similar in a globalized world, we see Africa’s box office growing at mid-to-high single digits.”
IMAX’s target in Africa stands at 18, which implies 49 million urban people per IMAX theater by 2030. Macquarie analysts believe the company could eventually build as many as 200 cinemas in Africa. The company currently operates 943 IMAX theatres in 63 countries.