Imax Corporation has furloughed 150 employees, Variety has learned exclusively.
Amid the domestic box office’s struggle to rebound, the large-screen format producer will put the furloughs into effect on Oct. 26 for at least two months. Employees in the U.S. and Canada have largely been affected, with a number in Europe.
The company cited a lack of new studio film releases and the ongoing economic impact of COVID-19 as causes.
“The move will enable the company to temporarily retrench, conserve resources and adjust its operations to reflect the lack of Hollywood releases in 2020, and the resulting closures of exhibitors in key markets,” an Imax spokesperson told Variety in a statement.
The furloughs will not affect Imax employees in China and Japan, the statement continued, “where local language films remain on the slate and theatres are fully open.”
Furloughs are across departments and have not touched any notable leadership at the company, individuals familiar with the move said. While in the league of major cineplex chains like AMC and Regal, Imax does not share the massive burden of real estate for its small number of physical theaters. The company also has $300 million in cash drawn down from a revolving credit facility with which to weather coronavirus, added sources.
The theatrical film establishment has been plunged into chaos since the disappointing domestic rollout of Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” the lackluster box office of which inspired a domino effect of date changes for major films including the new Bond title “No Time to Die” and Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune.”
Cineworld, which operates Regal in the U.S., reported plans to temporarily shutter all 536 locations last week, citing the “challenging theatrical landscape.” Cinemark, another major theater operator, recently said it doesn’t intend to close any U.S. venues, nor does giant AMC.
In July, Imax reported a $26 million second-quarter loss, or 44 cents a share, on revenues of $8.9 million.
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