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Netflix won’t rattle our record box office year: IMAX

With "Star Wars", "Avengers", "Spectre" and "Jurassic World" hitting screens in 2015, the chief executive of IMAX is confident it will be a blockbuster year for cinema.

"I think it probably will be a record year in terms of box office. We're certainly on a pace to do a record box office," Richard Gelfond told CNBC Thursday.

For IMAX and the entertainment industry, 2015 has delivered a raft of blockbuster movies. However, not all years can guarantee film releases from a number of top-selling franchises.

Despite this, Gelfond said IMAX wasn't worried as it shows 35-40 films a year worldwide, thereby one title doesn't normally have a huge impact on sales.

"One title here or there—not that 'Star Wars' isn't great—it just doesn't move the needle that much. Every year, there are five to seven core blockbuster movies and those tend to perform very well. They're like the anchor of the year," says Gelfond.

While sales performance is difficult to predict for most films, when it comes to 'Star Wars', IMAX has already reaped the benefits.

Around a third of U.K. and U.S. presale tickets were IMAX, Gelfond reveals, and Monday's early ticket sales broke the company's records, generating more than $6.5 million for U.S. screenings alone. IMAX has never recorded pre-sales above $1 million for one day before.

"Star Wars is close to a "can't miss" movie as you'll ever see. I think it's still hard to figure out what the magnitude will be. I hear it's a fantastic movie, so that's obviously going to help" said Gelfond, adding how Disney and J.J. Abrams will help the film gain momentum.

Seats in a theater display the Imax Corp. logo at a cinema in Beijing, China, on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011.
Nielson Ching | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Seats in a theater display the Imax Corp. logo at a cinema in Beijing, China, on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011.

The Netflix effect

While cinema is enjoying a blockbuster year, 2015 has been a watershed for television with the rise in Netflix, Amazon Prime and other online streaming platforms. However, Gelfond feels the TV renaissance has had little impact on cinema.

"For (IMAX), it's a record year for box office. (Online streaming) hasn't affected us."

"In a way, we play into the Netflix issue because people can stay home, chain themselves to the couch and watch at home all the time, but if they want to go out and they want to see a blockbuster in the best way on the planet; then they're going to go to an IMAX. I think we're a kind of counter trend to that trend."

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IMAX has also undertaken their largest research and development investment, to develop next-generation projection and sound with "groundbreaking laser technology," which is currently in use at selected cinemas worldwide.

"When people want to go out, people are going to go to the type of movies we're showing and for the experience we provide in our theaters."

By CNBC's Alexandra Gibbs, follow her on Twitter @AlexGibbsy.