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The giant-screen theatrical distributor Imax delivered its best results since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, with third-quarter revenue hitting $56.6 million, up 52 percent from a year earlier, and its quarterly losses narrowing to $8.4 million, further moving the company closer to profitability.
The adjusted net loss per share in Q3 amounted to eight cents, down from 12 cents in Q2 and down from 75 cents a year ago. In Q3 of 2020, most of the company’s theaters were shut down due to the pandemic.
On the company’s quarterly earnings call, CEO Richard Gelfond said that the company is embarking on a renewed push into streaming movies, with the CEO telling analysts Thursday that the company is “in productive conversations with leading global streaming platforms — which are very interested in Imax-exclusive expanded aspect ratio content to gain a competitive edge.”
Gelfond added that “the expansion of Imax Enhanced to major streaming services could be a strategic turning point as we seek to enter the home,” and that “by the end of the year there could be some significant developments in that area.”
The company delivered over $142 million in global box office in Q3, marking “a clear sign of significant pent-up consumer demand,” according to Gelfond. The CEO added that the company’s October is on track to be its best October ever, and September was on par with pre-pandemic levels. Imax films in Q3 included Shang-Chi, Free Guy, Black Widow, Jungle Cruise, Suicide Squad and No Time To Die.
In fact, Gelfond framed Imax as being positioned to take advantage of the changes impacting the movie business.
“The secular trends all favor Imax” Gelfond said, specifically calling out “the ‘blockbusterization’ of the film slate,” the “globalization of the theatrical marketplace,” the “emphasis on premium out-of-home experiences,” the “45-day theatrical window” and “the rise in local language filmmaking around the world.”
“Imax is in the blockbuster business — and blockbusters will grow their dominance as more mid-tier films move to streaming platforms,” Gelfond said. “Given the even bigger emphasis on opening weekend, an Imax run will be even more significant for studios and consumers.”
Looking forward to 2022, Gelfond called out the upcoming Marvel films, Top Gun: Maverick and the new Avatar film, “the film that, to this day, remains the highest-grossing Imax film of all time,” he said.
“As anticipated, the domestic market continued its recovery with sequential growth in box office. Local language box office was also a strong performer which already eclipsed our record breaking 2019 local language box office,” Gelfond added.
He also touched on China, which has cracked down on the number of Hollywood films permitted in the country this year. Gelfond said that in 2022, “things in China will be closer to a normal year,” adding that he heard the upcoming Spider-Man film had applied to be screened in the country, with sources indicating to him that it was looking good to make it through the bureaucracy there.
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