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‘Gravity,’ ‘The Hobbit,’ ‘Stalingrad’ Help Imax Earnings Soar in Fourth Quarter

Imax posted record fourth quarter results boosted by strong box office earnings for “Gravity,” “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” and “Stalingrad,” which proved popular on the large format theater chain’s screens. Lionsgate’s “Ender’s Game” didn’t fare as well for the company.

The Canadian theater operator posted fourth quarter profits of $27.8 million, more than doubling the $12.8 million that Imax earned during the same year-ago quarter that ended in December. Revenue came in at $105.06 million for the quarter, up from the expected consensus of $92.9 million.

Imax said it earned $244 million worldwide during the period, its highest global box office quarter. It earned $727 million during the year.

It averaged $366,300 per screen during the fourth quarter.

Gravity,” alone, generated around $100 million for the company. Film has earned over $700 million worldwide for Warner Bros.

For the full year, however, profits remained steady at $44.1 million, compared to $41.3 million in 2012, on revenue of $287.9 million.

Stalingrad” will be released in the U.S. in February, but the Russian war epic played well for Imax in Europe.

In its quarterly results, Imax said it installed 112 new theater systems last year, after building 125 in 2012. It signed deals to build another 119 during the fourth quarter, up from 38 during the fourth quarter in 2012. Much of those will be built overseas, especially in India and China, where the Imax brand is showing considerable signs of growth.

Imax has a deal with China’s Wanda Cinema Line Corp to build 210 large-format theaters in the country by 2021, and a 35-theater deal with CJ CGV to build screens in China and South Korea.

Expect more marketing momentum in the U.S. to bolster the Imax brand with theater owners considering its current contracts with chains start coming up for renewal in 2017.

Shares of Imax traded up 1.6% to close at $27.02, gaining 43 cents.

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