Quarterly Earnings at Imax Take Drastic Drop

Imax, with its giant movie screens that have made it very popular, posted on Thursday earnings for its fiscal first quarter that were sharply lower, but in line with estimates on Wall Street.

Led by Richard Gelfond its CEO, Imax posted $75,000 of attributable net income to shareholders, in comparison with a figure last year for the same period of $11.3 million.

Per share earnings were 6 cents, which included an impairment charge of 2 cents a share for a write down on a documentary title. That met most expectations on Wall Street.

Revenue for the first quarter was $68.5 million, which was down by 25% from its $92 million for the same period one year ago, even as signings of theaters increased slightly from last year’s 36 to a current 39. The overall revenues included a contribution of $18.5 million from its Imax China.

It gross box office received from movie titles that were digitally remastered on Imax $212.1 million for the quarter versus the prior year’s figure of $272 million. Imax was up against a difficult comparison since the same three month period one year ago featured Deadpool and Star Wars.

Included in the gross box office line was $75 million from domestic takings, another $70 million from the box office in China and a box office of $67 million for the remainder of the world.

Imax CEO Gelfond on a call Thursday with analysts said he had been pleased with how the box office momentum during the first quarter picked up, thanks to title such as Logan and Beauty of the Beast playing on its big screens.

He spoke of more deals on TV to come following a pact with ABC to send the live action series of Marvel The Inhumans to Imax theaters in September. The giant screen company told analysts casting for the series was completed along with the production for the first two episodes.

Gelfond has forecast that Imax might invest eventually in two to three original series for TV each year as his business continues to diversify from its niche of movie distribution.

He said that global television producers must distinguish their first shows during an era of peak television, and reaching fanboy audiences through Imax screens accomplishes that.

Imax is currently in talks with about a half dozen TV producers in relation to upcoming projects with their eye on making minority investments on the TV series.

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