Imax First-Quarter Profit Dips, Overseas Box-Office Revenue Jumps

Richard Gelfond - H 2015
AP Images

Richard Gelfond - H 2015

The giant-screen exhibitor, led by CEO Richard Gelfond, has seen expansion into China supersize its business.

Imax Corp. on Thursday posted lower first-quarter earnings as the giant-screen exhibitor continues to see revenues surge on strong box office and new theater signings, especially overseas.

Imax, led by CEO Richard Gelfond, reported net income attributable to shareholders of $391,000, compared with a year-ago figure of $579,000. First-quarter revenue jumped 29 percent to $62.2 million, driven by strong box office and higher installations.

Box office for the first quarter came in at $166 million, up 20 percent from the year-ago period, with 64 percent generated from international markets, especially China. On a per-share basis, Imax broke even in the latest quarter as expected by analysts. In the year-ago period, it had reached earnings of 1 cent per share.

Imax also saw revenue from sales and sales-type leases come to $8.6 million, against $4.5 million in 2014, while revenue from joint venture theaters was $15.9 million in the first quarter, compared to a year-earlier $10.9 million. On the film side, production and digital re-mastering revenues were $17.7 million, up from $15.2 million a year ago.

On top of gross box office from DMR titles at $166 million, the average global DMR box office per screen in the first quarter was $202,900, compared to $197,000 in the same period of 2014.

Imax's Gelfond in a statement ahead of an analyst call on Thursday morning pointed to an expanding theater network internationally, and "our strong film performance" during the latest quarter to explain surging revenue growth during the first quarter.

"With record results from Furious 7 in April and a great start to the Avenger's sequel internationally, the momentum has continued into the second quarter," he said after Universal's Furious 7 received the widest-ever release in the Imax network.

Other upcoming Hollywood releases on Imax screens this year include Walt Disney's The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Tomorrowland in May, Universal's Jurassic Park in June and Paramount's Mission: Impossible 5 in July.

Imax said it expects to release around 40 movies in full-year 2015, in line with its 2014 release activity.

April 30, 8:00 a.m. Updated with more financial details from Imax's first-quarter results.