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Imax reels off 2nd strong quarter

Revs rise to $31.3 million

TORONTO — Good news continues to unspool at Imax: Company posted its second consecutive quarter in the black, with net earnings of $10.5 million, on Thursday.

“The turnaround we talked about is well under way,” Imax co-CEO Rich Gelfond told Daily Variety.

Imax has had a difficult couple of years, including a loss for the first quarter last year of $13.8 million.

According to Gelfond, the company should still be in the black at the end of the year thanks to cost cutting and an improved film slate for its theaters. He told analysts that Imax expects to post a profit in the second and fourth quarters and lose money in the third.

Quarterly revs rise

Revenues for the quarter ended March 31 were $31.3 million, up from $28.7 million. Of that, systems revenue hit $20.4 million, up from $16.3 million; film revenue was $6.1 million, down from $9.3 million; and other revenue amounted to $4.8 million, up from $3.1 million a year earlier.

“There is no question — the tone of the business is a lot better,” he said of the exhib business. “The commercial exhibition industry has come through the worst of its problems.” Attendance at Imax theaters has been brisk, thanks to the Imax release of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” which drove revenue at owned and operated theaters up 63%.

One-time gain

Imax’s earnings include a one-time-gain of $8.5 million due to repurchasing debt in early January.

Company also introduced Imax Digital Remastering, which allows 35mm films to be converted into Imax format. “Apollo 13: The Imax Experience” will be released in August.

Gelfond plans a slate of Imax releases of Hollywood event films that bow at the same time as their regular format debut. He is in talks with “a number of studios. That will be the next significant marker on our journey back.”