Imax Caught in RealD Downdraft After Controversial Sony Decision

6:47 PM PST 09/29/2011 by Paul Bond
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

After the studio announced it would stop paying for 3D glasses, both companies have seen their shares slide.

Looks like Sony’s announcement it would stop paying for 3D glasses, which sunk RealD stock Wednesday, has rubbed off on Imax, even though its business model is such that Sony’s decision won’t affect the giant-screen movie company.

EXCLUSIVE: Sony to Stop Paying for 3D Glasses in May 2012

While shares of RealD, which actually could be harmed by Sony’s new policy that begins in May, fell 15 percent Wednesday, Imax shares dropped 6 percent. On Thursday, RealD slid another 5 percent while Imax slipped another 6 percent.

Imax shares closed Thursday at $15.19, whereas they were at $16.60 on Tuesday.

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That two-day hammering was enough to prompt Imax to issue a statement clarifying the situation with its 3D glasses, which are not paid for by studios.

“Imax’s exhibition partners are not dependent on the studios to subsidize Imax 3D glasses,” the company said Thursday. “Each Imax system comes with Imax 3D glasses and a glasses cleaning machine. If the exhibitor needs additional glasses, they are either purchased from Imax or a third party vendor who has met our specifications and quality standards.”

That policy is different from RealD’s. Analysts estimate that each pair of RealD 3D glasses cost the studio responsible for the film the patron is seeing about 50 cents.

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