Imax reports narrower fourth-quarter loss

Exhibitor expects digital transition to restore profitability

TORONTO -- Imax Corp. on Thursday narrowed its fourth-quarter loss despite lower revenue as its expenses related to equipment sales and services dropped compared with the year-ago period. The giant-screen exhibitor also predicted it will restore profitability in 2009.

Imax lost $9 million during the three months ending Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $10.14 million in 2007. Imax recorded $4.4 million in one-time charges during the latest quarter from introducing digital projection systems and joint venture theaters, compared with a year-earlier $4 million asset impairment charge.

Toronto-based Imax lost $9 million during the three months ending Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $10.14 million in 2007. Imax recorded $4.4 million in one-time charges during the latest quarter due to the introduction of digital projection systems and joint venture theaters, compared with a year-earlier $4 million asset impairment charge.

Fourth-quarter revenue stood at $28 million, compared with $32.3 million in 2007, as Imax released DreamWorks Pictures/Paramount's "Eagle Eye" ($7 million gross), DreamWorks Animation's "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" ($12.2 million) and 20th Century Fox's "The Day the Earth Stood Still" ($13.8 million).

Imax installed 32 digital projection systems during the fourth quarter, including two digital upgrades, to get to 64 digital systems currently in operation.

Despite a tough economy, Imax co-CEO Rich Gelfond told analysts that his company will return to profitability this year as a strong slate of Hollywood movies and the continuing digital rollout pay dividends.

"2009 is a year for us to deliver numbers," he said.
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