Growth spurs Imax profits

Earnings nearly double to $15 million

A growing global theater network, with 33 installations and 41 signings last quarter, helped Imax profits nearly double to $15 million from $8.4 million. Revenue rose 20% to $81 million.

“Our strong quarterly financial results once again demonstrate how much the Imax business model has evolved,” said CEO Richard Gelfond in a statement. Imax “has become a story of growth and operating leverage (and) we have reached a point of critical mass.” He said Imax is seeing increased demand from filmmakers in shooting in Imax, in specially formatting their movies for Imax, or in using an Imax early release window promote their pics.

Imax systems revenue rose to $25.4 million last quarter, up from $21 million last year on the installation of 14 full, new theater systems under sales and sales-type lease arrangements. Company installed three digital system upgrades versus four the year before.

Revenue from joint revenue sharing rose 32% to $13.2 million. Imax ended the quarter with 287 revenue-sharing arrangements.

Production and Imax DMR (digital re-mastering) saw revenue jump 36% to $25.2 million. Gross box office from DMR titles totaled $173 million in the third quarter of 2012, up from $149 million.

Average DMR box office of $311,700 dipped slightly from $355,500.

Imax said it plans to install 110 new theater systems (excluding digital upgrades) for full year 2012 — meaning 46 in the current fourth quarter. It sees 110 to 125 installations in 2013.

At the end of September, Imax’s network consisted of 689, of which 556 were in commercial multiplexes, with 285 theater systems in backlog.