The BFI London Imax is providing Warner Bros' summer blockbuster The Matrix Reloaded with an extra lease of life in a large screen format.
Opening on July 4, The Matrix Reloaded: The Imax Experience scored its biggest opening worldwide at the London location with $61,301 (£38,681) taken over three days. Eight of its 11 performances over the first three-days were sold out.
To date the film has taken $213,946 (£135,000) at the London Imax, with a ticket price of $18 (£11.50).
The fact that The Matrix Reloaded had played nationwide in conventional cinemas for over six weeks before its Imax release appears not to have harmed its performance. Early exit polls at the London Imax showed that approximately 50% of those polled had already seen the film.
The film dropped its number of performances after the initial weekend (when it played three shows on Friday July 4 and four on each on July 5 and 6) to two per day, at 7pm and 9:45pm.
The film took $38,303 (£24,169) over its second weekend. This result shows an improved performance over the debut weekend as, despite the apparent 37.5% drop, it played on 45% less shows. Five of the six screenings were sold out. On its third weekend, the film took $38,628 (£24,374).
The BFI London Imax venue is frequently a strong site. Buena Vista International's 3-D documentary, Ghosts Of The Abyss has taken $518,680 (£327,287) of its $1.3m (£839,516) five-site cumulative score from the London location - representing nearly 40% of its takings. Like Reloaded, James Cameron's film saw improvements in its takings between weeks one and two (up 14%) and two and three (up 1%). It opened on April 15.
BVI only tracked the large screen format Imax version of its hit animated film, The Lion King (which opened on Dec 20 last year), for 18 weeks at which point the BFI London site had provided 58% of total takings from five sites. The venue grossed $417,745 (£263,597) in those first 18 weeks of play, out of the five-site total of $724,312 (£457,041). Again, each of the first few weeks saw percentage rises over the previous weekends.
The Matrix Reloaded: The Imax Experience is currently only playing at the BFI London Imax but due to the phenomenal success of the release Warner Bros will receive another print that is likely to go to Manchester.
The film is booking until Sept 11 in London. Its sequel The Matrix Revolutions will also receive an Imax release, although a release date is as yet undecided. Revolutions opens in conventional cinemas on its 35mm print on Nov 7.
The Matrix Reloaded is the UK's highest grossing release of 2003 to date - with a cumulative gross of $51.2m (£32.3m) taken from the UK and Ireland since its May 21 launch.