‘Inception’ powers Imax to 17% revenue increase in Q3

Total revenues were $51.1 million

Thanks mainly to Warner Bros.’ boffo hit “Inception,” large-screen exhib Imax reported another up period, with revenues of $51.1 million in the third quarter, repping an increase of 17% over the same sesh last year.

“The performance of ‘Inception’ demonstrated how our fans seek out Imax because it is the best way to experience a movie, whether in 2D or 3D,” Imax CEO Richard L. Gelfond said in a statement.

The company’s year-to-date earnings as of Sept. 30 were also up 17% over last year, totaling $179.5 million vs. the $117 million earned in 2009. Imax reported an adjusted net income of 81¢ per share during the first nine months vs. 15¢ per share a year earlier.

Imax credited its network growth to the addition of 100 new theater contracts vs. the 13 signings during the year-ago period.

“Inception” stands as the fourth-highest grossing DMR title ever for Imax. (Imax DMR, or digital media remastering, is the process by which films are converted to the Imax format.) Global B.O. totals for “Inception” stand at a whopping $815 million, of which more than $50 million came from Imax at 300 locations.

Company also scored in the quarter with Sony/Screen Gems’ “Resident Evil: Afterlife,” which so far has earned more than $273 million in worldwide grosses, including $10 million from 190 digital-only Imax locations.

Gelfond pointed to fourth-quarter titles like Warner’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” and “Megamind,” from Paramount and DreamWorks Animation, as potential top earners for the company.

Late addition “Paranormal Activity 2” already has contributed $2.6 million to Imax during the pic’s opening weekend.

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