Imax Rakes in Record $546 million in Global Box Office

Announcement follows reports that Canadian company is a takeover target.

TORONTO -- No surprise here: super-sizing and screening Hollywood movies has become big business for Imax Corp.

Toronto-based Imax on Monday said it raked in a record $546 million in global gross boxoffice for traditional 35mm movies it digitally re-mastered during the year to December 31, 2010, doubling the $270 million in global boxoffice it achieved in 2009. The announcement followed stock in Imax on Friday enjoying a roller-coaster ride on market speculation that the giant screen exhibitor was a takeover target.

The rumors, which Imax eventually poured water on, follows the giant screen exhibitor in recent years transitioning from traditional to digital projection, joint-venture theatre revenue and more supersized Hollywood movie releases, with its DMR (digital re-mastering) technology central to that commercial strategy.

The DMR process has Imax digitally encoding and remastering Hollywood studio pictures that it can then screen in its super-sized theatres. Imax said it secured $102 million in DMR gross boxoffice during the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to $101 million in the fourth quarter of 2009.

"In 2010 we released more films to the Imax network from the most diverse group of studio partners than ever before and our box office results reflect well on our strategic initiatives," Greg Foster, chairman and president of Imax Filmed Entertainment said in a statement.

Last year, Imax said nine of the top 10 grossing films domestically were released into the Imax network, and that a record 16 DMR titles were released to the giant screen chain’s theatre network, against 13 in 2009 Imax also said 24 of its last 25 DMR titles led overall boxoffice on their opening weekend.

The giant screen exhibitor’s 2011 film slate includes Walt Disney Studios Tron: Legacy 3D and Mars Needs Moms 3D, Sony Pictures The Green Hornet 3D, and from long-time studio partner Warner Bros. titles like Born to Be Wild 3D, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 3D, and Happy Feet 2 3D.

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