Russian film distributor Central Partnership has unveiled a local alternative to IMAX, called Cosmax, after the the global premium large format operator lost a local lawsuit challenging its withdrawal from the Russian Federation. The first film to be shown in the new format will be “The Challenge” (also known as “Doctor’s House Call”), a Russian space drama partially filmed aboard the International Space Station, which premieres 20 April.
IMAX pulled out of the Russian Federartion on 1 June 2022, more than three months after the country’s large scale invasion of Ukraine. Russia’s largest cinema chain, Formula Kino and Cinema Park, responded by filing a lawsuit on 26 October against IMAX for breach of contract. On 22 March this year the Moscow Arbitration Court demanded that IMAX fulfill the contracts previously signed with Russian cinema operators. IMAX did not resume work and has one moth to challenge the court’s decision. According to Nevafilm Research there were 50 IMAX screens in Russia as of 2021, of which 29 were part of the Cinema Park and Formula Kino networks.
The Cosmax system is said to cost 5 million rubles (USD $64,500), with “a high-quality digital projector and sound equipment needed to show films in the new format.” The developers also said that they are in the process of obtaining a patent for their technology.