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IMAX Bans Russian Film Screenings Within Russia, Chain Owner Says

Bernd Weißbrod/dpa/TASS

IMAX has banned Russian cinemas from screening Russian movies within Russia after leaving the country over its invasion of Ukraine, the head of a major cinema chain said Tuesday.

IMAX Corporation, a Canadian company that provides proprietary high-resolution technology for a large-format movie experience, left Russia on June 1 after 19 years on the market, according to the RBC news website. It is among hundreds of foreign businesses to have exited Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Alexei Vasyanin, head of Russia’s largest network Cinema Park and Formula Kino, told RBC that all IMAX employees had been fired and top executives had left Russia for London. 

He noted that Russian cinemas require explicit permission from IMAX to screen movies in a high-resolution format despite the technical capabilities to do so.

“Unfortunately we can’t even screen Russian films in that format right now… because there’s a direct ban by the company on using the format,” Vasyanin said.

Vasyanin warned that Russian chains could sue IMAX if does not return to the market, with 54 cinemas around Russia that use its technology, by the end of 2022.

“First of all, we’ll file lawsuits. Secondly, we’ll use this equipment to screen movies in a different format,” the executive told RBC.

“We have a very strict contract with them that regulates their work here. If they keep ignoring that contract by the end of the year, we’ll go to trial,” Vasyanin said. 

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