Imax posts bigger loss

Drop in system installations makes revs slide

TORONTO — Losses continue to mount at Toronto-based Imax Corp. but company execs say the battered large-format film company is on target to get back into the black, and its largest investor said Tuesday that it’s holding firm to its commitment.

Revenues for the second quarter ended June 30 were $38.6 million, a significant drop from the year-ago quarter, when revenues were $62.8 million. The drop was due to a decline in the number of Imax system installations in the quarter — three, vs. seven for the same quarter a year ago.

The drop contributed to Imax’s net loss of $11.4 million for the quarter, compared to earnings for the second quarter a year ago of $4.7 million. A restructuring charge of $1.2 million related to staff cuts and the consolidation of manufacturing facilities and a bad debt charge of $2.2 million also contributed to the loss.

Repositioning phase

“The company’s earnings for the quarter, while disappointing, are consistent with our expectations for the year as we reposition Imax to return to profitability in 2002,” co-CEOs Richard Gelfond and Brad Wechsler said in a statement. “We are making progress in advancing our restructuring plan of reducing corporate costs, attracting Hollywood film content and developing new digital markets and revenue streams for the company.”

Imax’s largest shareholder, Wasserstein & Co., which owns about 9.2 million common shares of the company, has renewed its investment partnerships for another year. Wasserstein’s shares were set to expire today.

Noteworthy pix in pipeline

“The recovery of the commercial exhibition market and an extremely promising film slate should increase our business momentum into 2002,” Gelfond and Wechsler said.

Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is coming to Imax theaters Jan. 1 and Imax will release the 3-D film “Space Station” in the spring.

In addition, James Cameron soon starts production on “Ghosts of the Abyss,” a 3-D exploration of the sinking of the Titanic and the Bismarck. Imax also has plans to release Steve Oedekerk’s 3-D pic “Santa vs. the Snowman.”