Imax’s first-quarter box office record lifts revenue to $86.9 million, beating Wall Street projections

Imax’s efforts to diversify its offerings in theaters around the world are paying off as the studio reported its best ever first quarter at the box office, helping it beat Wall Street expectations with its quarterly earnings report.

Imax posted quarterly revenue of $86.9 million and earnings of $5.1 million or 4 cents per share on a diluted basis and 16 cents per share on an adjusted basis. That beat Wall Street forecasts of $77.5 million in revenue and adjusted EPS of 15 cents per share, according to analysts polled by Zacks Investment Research.

The total also represents a 45% increase from the $60 million in revenue in the first quarter of 2022, when Imax posted an adjusted loss of 14 cents per share.

The three months of 2023 have seen a variety of Hollywood films contribute to Imax’s record success, including “Avatar: The Way of Water” weekends in January as well as movies like “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and “Creed III.”

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But 31% of Imax’s quarterly box office came from films produced outside the United States, including $61.3 million from Imax screens in China alone during the Lunar New Year festivities. Other major contributors include “Suzume” by Makoto Shinkai in Japan and the Hindi-language thriller “Pathaan” by Siddharth Anand in India.

In a statement, Imax CEO Richard Gelfond said the results showed Imax was “more global than ever”.

The company’s performance outside of the United States was “strong validation of our strategy to diversify our content portfolio and become a premier platform for local language blockbusters across the globe,” he added.

Such success was made possible by Imax’s concentrated efforts to strike deals to expand its presence in cinemas around the world. So far in 2023, Imax has signed 62 deals with theater chains for new or upgraded systems, more than all 2,022 combined.

Among the deals signed this week at CinemaCon in Las Vegas were those with Vietnamese company Galaxy Cinemas; the Mexican chain Cinemex and its American subsidiary CMX; and US regional channel EVO, which will soon add Imax auditoriums to seven of its theaters in Florida and Texas.

Imax shares closed Thursday up 2.9% at $19.97 and are up 35.6% year-to-date. Shares jumped another 5% after hours after the results were released.

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