NBC’s Paris Olympics opening ceremony will play on IMAX screens

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A view shows the logo of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, in Paris, France, March 19, 2024. 

Benoit Tessier | Reuters

Many of the world’s greatest athletes will make their big-screen debut in IMAX theaters this summer.

NBC announced Friday that its live coverage of the 2024 Paris Olympics opening ceremony on July 26 will play on more than 150 IMAX screens in the U.S.

The Summer Olympics opening ceremony will be the first not held in a stadium. Instead, organizers will send Olympians down the River Seine on a four-mile-long flotilla of nearly 100 boats past iconic sites in Paris.

Ticket prices for the IMAX screenings were not immediately available.

“We look forward to providing our Opening Ceremony coverage to audiences at IMAX locations across the country, sharing in this historic moment as the world regathers to witness the spectacular beginning of 16 days of athletic greatness against the backdrop of one of the most beautiful cities in the world,” Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics, said in a statement.

The live programming follows the successful run of Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment’s “Dune: Part Two” in IMAX locations. IMAX has posted global box-office receipts of $103 million for the film, accounting for about 20% of the movie’s total worldwide haul while representing less than 1% of screens, according to a recent report from Eric Wold, an analyst at B. Riley.

Special, limited-time programming such as the Summer Olympics coverage could drive moviegoers to IMAX. Once they’re there, trailers and advertisements for other films or special events could lure them back again. IMAX tickets also carry a premium price higher than that of a traditional movie ticket.

IMAX stock has climbed nearly 6% year to date, last trading at just under $16 a share. However, most analysts think the stock is undervalued. Wold’s price target is $25 a share, just above the analyst average of $21.60, according to FactSet.

Wold said the current price “does not give IMAX any credit” for the fact that its box office is expected to be flat compared with 2023, while the rest of the industry is expected to decline. He also said IMAX is the “only company in this universe” that is projected to generate adjusted earnings in 2025 that top 2019 levels.

“We believe that it is worth a premium,” he said.

The opening ceremony will also be shown on NBC and Peacock.

Programming note: IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond will be on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” at 2 p.m. ET on Friday.

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics is the U.S. broadcast rights holder to all Summer and Winter Games through 2032.

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