Imax earnings to max

Large-format kingpin reports record quarter

Continuing on its significant expansion roll, Toronto-based Imax Corp. announced record third-quarter 1997 earnings, with per-share earnings up 29% over the same period in 1996.

The large-format kingpin inked a number of major-chain exhibition deals in 1997, a process duly reflected in the earnings reports. Revenues were up 8% over 1996, from $33.1 million to $35.9 million for the quarter, while year-to-date revenues were up 11% over ’96, to $103.9 million from $92.1 million.

Chief among the revenue-enhancers were a record 16 contracts signed for new theater systems in the quarter, estimated at $41.4 million, a 49% increase over the same period a year ago.

Not figured into the third-quarter numbers is the company’s largest theater contract to date, its 12-site deal with Cinemark USA (Daily Variety, Oct. 24). That deal, announced earlier this week, will be rolled into what will likely be more record-setting fourth-quarter results.

Understandably upbeat

Richard Gelfond, Imax’s vice chairman and co-CEO, was understandably upbeat on the latest earnings reports. “We’re close to becoming the central element of the modern (theatrical) multiplex,” he said. “And with the expansion of our exhibition base, we can continue to expand our activities on the film development and production side.”

As of Sept. 30, there were more than 150 installed Imax theaters in 22 countries, with an additional backlog of agreements to build more than 65 over the next several years. Additionally, some 16 Imax Ridefilm installations are in place, with a backlog of 27 more to be built by the year 2001.

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