Luxury clients desiring the IMAX experience in the comforts of their own home, with access to the latest big screen blockbusters, may soon get their wish… for a half million dollars.
Bloomberg first reported on this fascinating and evolving trend in the high-end residential entertainment market. Homeowners can experience the sharp, bright, high-resolution images, all-encompassing sound and curved screen style offered by IMAX without ever leaving the home.
IMAX Private Theatre is currently targeting high-net-worth individuals, with assets of five million dollars or more, in areas such as China and the Middle East. They currently utilize $10,000 set-top boxes (called IMAX Home Premier), which are designed with secure fingerprint technology that allows viewers to access new releases at home.
IMAX has also begun expanding to the United State and Europe. Purchasers will be built a home theater that adheres to the high-quality cinematic experience offered through IMAX.
For now, expansion in U.S. and Europe just applies to theater design and building, but trends similar to IMAX Home Premier have been on the forefront. Some home theater owners have been using something called Prima Cinema to gain access to new release studio films, which costs $35,000 a year for the secure set-top box and $500 per movie/screening.
Meanwhile, Napster creator Sean Parker has been making news with his attempt to create a “day and date” service called Screening Room, which would offer new movies with a $150 set-top box and movies at $50 a piece. However, this approach has faced criticism and setbacks from top filmmakers and exhibition companies.
The base-level IMAX Private Theatre system is the “Palais”, which is designed for theaters up to 75-square-meters and costs $400,000.
A larger “Platinum” system accommodates up to 40 guests and costs about $1 million. Sales of both systems are expanding into North America and Europe, according to IMAX, and plans for a smaller offering–deemed “Prestige”–is also in the works.
It will be interesting to see how this evolves in the home theater market, especially considering its high-end exclusivity. Currently, a majority of sales have been for newly built homes and targeted to developers, but the company has indicated a challenging roll-out due to slowdowns in luxury construction and real estate.
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