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B.O., screen growth power Imax earnings

Large-format exhib posts 170% spike in net income for 2012

Powered by the expansion of its network and strong B.O., mega-screen exhibitor Imax Corp. posted a 170% hike in net income for 2012.

Net income rose to $41.3 million, from $15.3 million in 2011. The company, which unveiled its full-year and fourth quarter results on Thursday, also saw a 20% revenue increase to $284.3 million, with fourth quarter revenues of $77.8 million.

“Imax has always been a question of scale,” said Imax CEO Richard Gelfond. “We executed on all key fronts, with the combination of network expansion and an increasingly global portfolio.”

Gelfond said the company’s record box office growth was twofold: half came from network growth with 142 new theater signings worldwide, while a migration away from family fare to focus on fanboy pics accounted for the other half of the B.O. boom.

“You have to keep programming globally and choosing the right films domestically,” Gelfond said.

Imax, which plans to open 110-125 new theaters worldwide this year alone, increasingly has become a major component to studio releases, particularly with 3D. The company next releases Warner Bros.’ “Jack the Giant Slayer” on March 1, followed later in the month by Disney’s “Oz The Great and Powerful.”

Universal, meanwhile, has parterned with Imax to release Tom Cruise starrer “Oblivion” on April 12, a week before the nationwide release. This summer, Paramount is sneaking “Star Trek Into Darkness” two days early in Imax as well.

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