Imax Fourth-Quarter Earnings Dip, Exceed Expectations

Courtesy of Paramount and Warner Bros.

The giant-screen exhibitor had box-office hits like 'Interstellar' and 'The Hobbit,' but results dropped amid more theater installations and a company record for box office in the year-ago period.

Giant-screen exhibitor Imax on Thursday beat analysts' earnings expectations even as its fourth-quarter profit and revenue fell.

Imax reported a profit of $20.9 million for the three months ending on Dec. 31, compared with earnings of $27.8 million for the year-ago period when Imax had stronger theater installations and a company record for global box office.

Imax beat the analyst consensus of 25 cents per share. Fourth-quarter revenue fell to $102.4 million from $105.0 million.

Imax had box-office performers like Interstellar and the latest installment of The Hobbit on its screens, but gross box office from digitally re-mastered (DMR) movie titles was $226.9 million in the latest quarter, down sharply from $244.5 million in the prior-year period when Imax had Gravity and a Hunger Games sequel on its screens.

The average global DMR box office per screen in the fourth quarter was $292,000, well down from $366,300 in the prior-year period. Imax is increasingly securing a majority of its box office from overseas markets as it continues with theater signings to diversify beyond the mature North American market.

Production and Imax DMR revenue also fell to $25.6 million for the latest quarter, compared to $28.6 million in the same period of 2013. Revenue from joint venture revenue-sharing theaters was $23 million, compared to $24.5 million in the year-ago period.

Imax installed 29 new joint venture theaters during the latest quarter, compared with 30 theaters in the fourth quarter of 2013. Revenue from sales and sales-type leases was $33.2 million, compared with $32.6 million a year earlier as Imax installed 26 new theater systems, two more than last year.

Imax executives will discuss their latest financial results with analysts during a conference call on Thursday morning.

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