Big loss for big screens in Imax Q2

Exhibitor posts a widened loss of $12.1 mil

TORONTO -- Imax continues to bleed red ink as it makes the transition to digital.

On Thursday, the Toronto-based exhibitor posted a widened second-quarter loss of $12.1 million for the three months ending June 30, compared with a loss of $4.5 million in 2007, on revenue of $21.2 million, down from $27.1 million.

"The transition to digital has been somewhat painful from a financial point of view," Imax co-CEO Rich Gelfond told analysts during a conference call. He went on to predict better financial results once his company and partners including AMC and Regal Cinemas have installed a forecasted 50 digital projection systems by year's end.

The higher second-quarter loss came due to a drop in film revenue to $6.6 million, compared with $8 million in 2007, along with higher selling, general and administrative expenses and R&D costs related to the digital rollout.

Film production and DMR revenue fell to $2.5 million from $3.8 million in 2007, while theater system revenue stood at $10.6 million, down from $14 million.

Imax said its supersized version of "The Dark Knight" has grossed $32 million to date in the third quarter. The exhibitor also has booked DreamWorks Pictures/Paramount's "Eagle Eye" for a fall release.

And Imax added three films to its 2009 slate: "Watchmen," "Night at the Museum 2" and "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen."