“The Batman,” the moody reimagining of the Bruce Wayne saga that became a box office success this spring, helped lift the earnings of Imax during the exhibition company’s first quarter.
Revenues at Imax climbed 55% to $60 million for the three-month period ending in April, which the company attributed to the popularity of the comic book reboot, as well as to the appeal of some special events like the re-release of “Get Back,” a documentary about the Beatles that initially debuted on Disney+. “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” the superhero sequel that dominated the holiday box office, continued to put up impressive numbers into 2022.
Losses also narrowed to $13.6 million or 23 cents a share, which compared favorably to the $14.8 million or 25 cents a share in losses that the company reported in the year-ago period. The report comes as Imax and the larger theater business are trying to reemerge from the box office slowdown that characterized the COVID era, one that saw studios cut back substantially on the number of major releases.
Imax suggested that should change soon, with blockbuster hopefuls such as “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Jurassic World Dominion” all slated to open in the coming months. The company offers wide-screen technology that is suited to big-budget action films.
But geopolitical tensions are impacting the company. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions from the U.S. and its allies were reflected on Imax’s balance sheet. The company had locations in Russia and recorded a net non-cash provision of $6.9 million, due to an increase in reserves, given the uncertainty of collecting receivables in Russia. And COVID-related shutdowns in China have cut into Imax’s revenues and forced it to shutter some locations until the spike recedes.
Overall, Imax reported global box office results of $173.2 million for the quarter, 57% over the year-ago period.
The improved financial picture didn’t entirely please Wall Street. Shares of Imax were down 6.5% in after-hours trading.