Imax Revenues Rise 29%, Profits Fall During First Quarter

Imax’s balance sheet got a boost from box office hits such as “Cinderella,” “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “American Sniper,” but profits at the widescreen company dipped during the first three months of the year.

Revenue for the period ending in March climbed 29% to $62.2 million, up from $48.2 million, according to first quarter results released Thursday. Imax broke even during the quarter, as opposed to the 1 cent it earned on a per-share basis in the prior-year period. Net income clocked in at $391,000, compared with a year-ago figure of $579,000.

Earnings were roughly in line with analyst estimates, although Wall Street had projected lower revenue of $54.10 million. It was a fiscal quarter that saw Imax roll out its new laser projection system, which it says enhances its image quality, as well as experiment with offering different types of content on its screens by showing two episodes of “Game of Thrones.” The strategy appeared to work, with box office results getting a 20% lift to hit $166 million.

Imax chairman Rich Gelfond labeled it a “very exciting time” for the company and teased a slate of spring and summer blockbusters that he implied would fill the wide screen company’s coffers.

“With record results from ‘Furious 7’ in April and a great start to the ‘Avengers’ sequel internationally, the momentum has continued into the second quarter,” Gelfond said.

New theater signings for the period fell from 36 to 21, while new theater installations increased from 10 to 13.

Imax caters to fanboy audiences and should benefit from a box office slate that overflows with comic book movies and visual effects spectacles such as “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.” During the first quarter, Imax extended its deals with Disney and Warner Bros., ensuring that it will continue to release Marvel, DC Comics and “Star Wars” titles in the coming years.

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