Imax swings to $2.6 mil profit

Revenue rises to $55.6 mil in last quarter

Imax swung to a $2.6 million profit last quarter on higher revenue thanks to strong film performance and its growing worldwide theater network.

The company lost $1 million in the year-earlier first quarter.

Revenue rose to $55.6 million from $45 million.

Global expansion is “the key ingredients of our business model,” said Imax CEO Richard Gelfond. The company’s commercial network has grown 32% year on year. There were 643 Imax theaters in 52 countries as of March 31.

Gelfond said box office strength in the first quarter has continued into the second, with gross box office to date up roughly 500% vs. the same period last year.

“We believe that the momentum we are currently experiencing, together with our growing network, backlog of theaters, cutting-edge technology and the introduction of our new brand campaign should result in continued growth over the long term,” he said.

Film revenue of $19 million was up from $11.5 million. Production and Imax DMR (digital remastering) revenues were $13.8 million in the first quarter of 2012 vs. $7.3 million a year earlier.

Gross box office from DMR titles doubled to $121.7 million from $62.3 million and average DMR box office per screen was $247,600 — $212,400 domestic, $304,100 international.

Gelfond noted a “halo effect” of “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.”

Imax’s summer movie season kicks off this week, with “The Avengers,” followed by “Men in Black 3,” “Prometheus,” “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” which will include at least an hour of footage shot using Imax cameras.

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