Don’t Kill the Messenger welcomes former IMAX CEO and industry consultant, Greg Foster.

In this episode of “Don’t Kill the Messenger,” Kevin Goetz sits down with Greg Foster, former CEO of IMAX Entertainment and current owner of the entertainment and media consulting firm, Foster + Crew.

Foster, a self-described “brat of the business,” grew up immersed in the world of Hollywood, with a father who was a successful film producer. This early exposure to the industry laid the foundation for Foster’s remarkable career, which has been characterized by his passion for cinema, and his ability to communicate and develop deep connections with some of the most influential figures in the entertainment world.

Kevin Goetz on Greg Foster:

“He is a brilliant business strategist with unbelievable brand research and distribution knowledge, and he catapulted IMAX from being a large format exhibitor known for its dazzling documentaries to being the number one premium movie experience in the world.”

Growing up in Hollywood and a memorable encounter with Mel Brooks

Foster discusses his upbringing in Beverly Hills and the influence of his father, David Foster, on his career path. He recounts a memorable experience early in his career at MGM/UA, where he delivered test screening results to Mel Brooks for the movie Spaceballs. “I am literally shaking in my pants,” Greg recalls, “because I have, I wanted to have this job permanently. I really enjoyed it.” When the screening didn’t go as well as hoped, Brooks told Greg, “Don’t call me tomorrow. Don’t ever call me. And best of luck with your career.” It was a moment that could have ended Greg’s career before it even began, but with the support of his boss, Alan Ladd Jr., he persevered.

Steve McQueen, Ali MacGraw, and Greg’s Father

Foster shares a story about his father’s involvement in the production of The Getaway, starring Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw, and the confrontation that ensued when MacGraw’s then-husband, Robert Evans, discovered the affair between the two stars. “Bob Evans, who was at the time running Paramount, realized that something was going on and flew down to El Paso, Texas where the movie was being shot,” Greg reveals. “My dad picked him up at the airport and my dad would not let him go to the hotel… He walked Bob Evans for the whole night around El Paso, Texas, would not let him into the hotel.”

Apollo 13 and the evolution of IMAX

Foster shares the story of how IMAX’s partnership with Apollo 13 marked a turning point for the company, as it was the first Hollywood movie they worked on, showcasing their ability to enhance the emotional experience of a film. “What was so brilliant about it is this technology that we had,” Greg explains. “The shot of [Kathleen Quinlan] playing Mrs. Lovell, as you see the tears come down her face knowing that she may never see her husband again, took everyone’s breath away.” The pair discuss the transformation of IMAX to a premier movie experience.

Christopher Nolan and Batman Begins

Kevin and Greg talk about the critical role of Warner Bros. and Christopher Nolan in the growth of IMAX, particularly with the release of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.

Greg on Christopher Nolan and IMAX:

“They take their filmmaking incredibly seriously. Their focus on detail is amazing. And that’s the part I think with Chris more than anything else that I will say, Chris’ attention to detail made us as a company and continues to make IMAX so much better because there is literally nothing that you can get by him. So, if there’s anything that’s not right, I promise you, you don’t have to point it out to him.”

Consulting with Foster + Crew

Greg shares insights into his consulting firm, Foster + Crew, and the various services he provides to his clients in the entertainment industry. Greg’s superpower is “melding relationship skills with strategy,” and he leverages this skill to focus on connecting people, and helping them with their distribution strategy.

The future of cinema in the streaming era

Kevin and Greg touch on the impact of streaming on the theatrical experience and the future of cinema post-COVID.

Despite the challenges facing the industry, Greg remains optimistic about the future of moviegoing. “I think 2025 is a year that will, that will make people who love going to the movies very, very happy,” he predicts. “When you can’t find a date to release a movie, and you certainly can’t find a date in 2025 to release a movie in IMAX, that’s a good sign.”

From his early days at MGM/UA to his pivotal role in transforming IMAX, Greg Foster’s stories offer a fascinating glimpse into the ever-evolving world of the movie business. As he tells Kevin,

“I’m a movie guy. I’m a theater guy, I’m a cinema guy. That’s what I am, that is my focus. It’s what I grew up with. It’s what, when my kids were young, it wasn’t a question of what we were going to do on a Friday or Saturday night. We knew we were all going to go to a movie. I wish that were the case with young families now. It doesn’t seem to be quite the same, but I’m a movie guy, and, and the theatrical experience is something that I personally love. I think it’s a massive part of global culture.”

For the full conversation, check out the podcast episode here. And let us know your thoughts on the episode in the comments!


Don’t Kill the Messenger, hosted by movie and entertainment research expert Kevin Goetz, brings his book Audienceology to life. This bi-monthly podcast takes a peek behind the filmmaking curtain as Kevin talks with famous filmmakers, studio executives, stars, and other creatives about movies, filmmaking, audience test screenings, and much more.

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