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Imax Swings to Q1 Profit as Recurring Revenue Jumps

Underworld Awakening Poster - P 2012
Screen Gems

The giant screen exhibitor posted gains in overall film revenue and gross box office from digitally-remastered Hollywood titles like "Underworld: Awakening" and "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island."

TORONTO – Imax Corp. on Friday swung to a first quarter profit on higher recurring revenue from digitally super-sizing and screening Hollywood tentpole titles.

Earnings for the three months to March 31 were $2.5 million, compared to a loss of $1 million in 2011, due in part to a one-time charge of $2.1 million related to a discontinued subsidiary last year.

Overall revenue rose 23 percent to $55.6 million.

Many of the revenue gains came from recurring business, including film revenue at $19.1 million, against a year-earlier $11.5 million, and production and Imax digitally-remastered (DMR) revenues at $13.8 million, versus $7.3 million in 2011.

Gross box office from DMR titles was $121.7 million in the latest quarter, compared to a year-ago $62.3 million, as Imax screened Hollywood 3D titles like Underworld: Awakening, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and Dr. Seuss' The Lorax.

Elsewhere, revenue from joint revenue sharing theaters came to $11.7 million, against $4 million in 2011.

As of March 31, Imax had 265 theaters operating as joint ventures with exhibition partners, compared to 181 theaters at the year-earlier stage.

Also in the first quarter, Imax posted systems revenue of $15.7 million, down from $22.3 million in 2011, as the giant screen exhibitor installed eight new theatre systems and completed 10 upgrades, compared to 11 new systems installed and 22 upgrades completed in the first quarter of 2011.

Imax executives will hold an analyst call Friday morning.