Imax Corp. has decided to furlough 150 workers due to the withdrawal of movie studios from the theatrical marketplace due to COVID-19.
The large-format film company’s auditoriums have fared well in China and across Asia in reopening during COVID-19, but it has reached a crossroads in much of the rest of the world. Just about every planned wide release of a Hollywood film has shifted out of the fourth quarter into 2021 or later due to lingering closures and safety concerns about theaters.
“Imax will furlough approximately 150 employees for at least two months beginning on October 26,” the company said in a statement Thursday. “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. The furloughs will not impact Imax operations in China and Japan, where local language films remain on the slate and theatres are fully open.”
It’s the first instance of furloughs or layoffs at Imax since the beginning of the pandemic. Other U.S. exhibitors have had to let workers go. Cineworld’s Regal Cinemas, by contrast, set 40,000 layoffs when it implemented temporary closures of its U.S. locations. AMC and Cinemark have continued operating.
The furloughs do not affect Imax offices in China and Japan or and operations in South Korea and India. Even as the Hollywood pipeline has dried up, 10 local-language releases remain on the international release calendar before the end of 2020.
Shares in Imax were unchanged at $11.37 in mid-day trading. After plunging early in the year as COVID-19 spread across the world, the stock has recovered in recent months.
Variety was first to report news of the furloughs today.
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