IMAX employees just fell in love with their CEO. Sort of.

1 year ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Trends

NOTE: This story has been updated after input from Glassdoor.

The movie business is in a state of slowdown, reinvention, correction, contraction, or something. Whatever the cinema industry is doing, people are staying at home and spending less at movie theaters. But don't tell that to IMAX who, despite somewhat disappointing Q3 results that included a 4% year-over-year decline in revenue and net losses of $1.7 million, appears to be suddenly loved by its employees at a very convenient moment.

That's because employees of the big-screen theater technology company apparently - and suddenly - love working there, at least if you are to trust a recent spike in Glassdoor ratings. When scrubbing for unusual changes in Glassdoor ratings, our trusty Thinknum bots uncovered a big jump in employee hapiness at the company across the board. These jumps include overall rating and - most remarkably - CEO and compensation ratings.

The jump occurs in mid-January 2018, just a few weeks ago. For context, in July 2017, IMAX laid off 14% of its workforce, about 100 employees, and made restructuring moves at the executive level that resulted in savings of around $20 million for the company.

Since then, the company has opened new theaters, signed new international development deals, and has seen a recent jump in stock price as investors anticipate positive results when IMAX holds its Q4 2017 earnings call on February 27, 2018. So it's entirely possible that those who still work there are happy with what they've done as a company.

CEO Rating

So what happened in January? Given the jump in love for CEO Richard Gelfond along with a spike in compensation satisfaction, it appears that some employees were given a nice Near Year's bump either in salary or bonus.

There are two major jumps in Glassdoor ratings: one on January 22, 2018 from 21% to 45%, then another to 60% on January 31. However, the raw data doesn't seem to support this jump - total number of ratings moved from just 33 to 35, and and the percentage of 4- and 5-star ratings for the company didn't see a jump. In fact, number of 5-star ratings dropped from 23.5% to 20%. 

When we asked Glassdoor about the change, Glassdoor Spokeswoman Alison Sullivan attributed this to the low number of reviews (62 total) for IMAX:

IMAX's company ratings on Glassdoor are only based on 62 reviews total, which for a company of this size is not substantial. So, if a few new reviews come on site - whether positive or negative - it can shift a company's rating in either direction, in part due to this low base of reviews it is starting from.  

Sulivan also pointed out that, despite the large jump in approval for Gelfond, his 65% rating isn't all that:

The current CEO approval rating is at 65 percent for CEO Richard L. Gelfond, which is just below the average CEO approval rating on Glassdoor (68 percent), based on the 740,000 employers reviewed on Glassdoor.

In fact, when one looks at recent Glassdoor reviews, it appears as though not all employees are happy, especially in finance and marketing - where it seems that despite footprint growth, the economics haven't kept up. It's possible that the company has shed itself of some of these positions before the upcoming earnings calls as it looks for new marketing and sales strategies.


Here's where we see a similar jump in satisfaction, this one related to compensation. Interestingly, this happens on the same dates as CEO satisfaction jumps seen above, likely due to new reviews from happy employees around then.


Like the CEO rating and compensation numbers, overall rating takes a reverse bump on January 22, recovering on the 31st.

Business Outlook

Business outlook - which had been dipping for some time, likely as employees saw declines not just in the company's numbers but also the writing on the wall for a stagnating cinema business - saw a nice Glassdoor recovery for the company on January 31 as well. That said, IMAX's global footprint remains very impressive.

Job Openings

Finally, for some context, the number of openings at IMAX has been erratic over time with lows last fall and slight recovery at the beginning of 2018.


We reached out to both IMAX and Glassdoor for comment, and we'll update this story when (and if) we hear back. As you can see above, we've updated based on Glassdoor's comments. We've not yet heard from IMAX.

Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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