IMAX: Larger Than Life
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IMAX was involved in several aspects of the large-format film business: production, distribution, theatre operations, system development and leasing. The case illustrates IMAX’s use of its unique capabilities to pursue a focused differentiation strategy. IMAX was initially focused on large format films that were educational yet entertaining, and the theatres were located in institutions such as museums, aquariums and national parks. However, IMAX found that its growth and profitability were constrained by its niche strategy. In response, IMAX sought to grow by expanding into multiplexes. Additionally, IMAX expanded its film portfolio by converting Hollywood movies, such as Harry Potter and Superman, into the large film format. This shift in strategy was supported by the development of two technological capabilities — DMR for conversion of standard 35 mm film into large format, and DMX to convert standard multiplexes to IMAX systems. The shift in strategy was partially successful, but carried the risk of IMAX losing its unique reputation.