Imax Sees Record February Box Office, Thanks to ‘Black Panther’

Citing the powerhouse “Black Panther” and a gigantic Chinese New Year performance, Imax Corp., has reported it achieved record box office for February.

CEO Richard Gelfond made the disclosure Tuesday as part of the company’s fourth quarter earnings report, issued after the stock market closed.

“I am pleased to say that 2018 is off to a solid start,” Gelfond said. “We recently achieved record box office in February, led by ‘Black Panther,’ which did $35 million in Imax box office over the four-day opening weekend. In China, we exhibited three local-language titles during the Chinese New Year period and grew box office 60%, compared to the prior years’ holiday.”

Disney-Marvel’s “Black Panther” has become the third-highest grossing Marvel Cinematic Universe release of all-time domestically, behind only “The Avengers” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” “Black Panther” took in $8.1 million on Monday, lifting its domestic total to a sensational $411.7 after only 11 days. Its international gross on Monday was $10.9 million, lifting that total to $316.2 million.

Imax reported fourth-quarter revenues of $125.6 million and adjusted earnings per share of 34 cents — which surpassed analyst estimates of $118.8 million in revenues and earnings of 32 cent per share. The chain’s fourth-quarter box office was up 13% to $278 million.

Net income was $4.8 million, down from $8.9 million in the year-ago quarter, as the Toronto-based company posted  one-time tax charge of $9.3 million due to recent U.S. corporate tax reform and a $2.5 million charge stemming from cost reductions.

Shares of Imax were up 45 cents in after-hours trading to $23.70.

“As we look to 2018, our primary focus is on expanding the earnings power of our core business,” Gelfond said. “We believe the combination of the initiatives we implemented last year, coupled with a growing international presence and reduced spend on non-core businesses and R&D, should help facilitate operating leverage in the future. Our overarching efforts this year are aimed at growing the network, controlling costs and generating more box office across our theaters.”

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