It’s been a year since IMAX shares tumbled following a big earnings miss. That shouldn’t happen this time. The company has a better story to tell and has already previewed much of the news for Q2, including the improvement in box office sales. This morning it reports Q2 net earnings of $11.1M, up from $1.8M in the period last year, on revenues of $70.2M, +23%. The revenue figure was slightly shy of the $71.6M that analysts expected. And earnings, at 21 cents a share, are just a penny short of the consensus forecast. The large screen theater company said that gross ticket sales for its movies — which it shares with exhibition companies — came to $173.5M, up from $107.7M last year. Average box office per screen was $341,900, +8.3%. IMAX reported film revenues of $26.5M, +42.7%. The company says that 25 films will be released in its theaters this year, about the same as in 2011. But IMAX is primarily in the business of building and operating large screen venues. On that score, the company says it has new deals that will keep it busy: IMAX increased the number of scheduled installations this year to 110 from its previous forecast of anywhere from 95 to 100. Investors have been concerned that IMAX’s growth might be stunted as several major theater chains build their own large-screen venues. But CEO Richard Gelfond says: “We are still in the early stages of our network expansion, having recently increased the estimated number of worldwide IMAX zones by 10% to 1,700 theaters.” Meanwhile, he adds, “we are also reinvesting in our brand and technology to even further differentiate the IMAX platform.”
IMAX made news over the holidays when its stock jumped on speculative reports that Sony was angling to buy the company, though IMAX officially claimed not to know anything about it. Today, IMAX issued glowing year-end results.
TORONTO AND LOS ANGELES – JANUARY 3, 2011 – IMAX CORPORATION today