Imax is one of the exhibition companies that’s eager to return to Pandora and Wakanda. That’s the hopeful message being sounded after a lack of splashy new blockbusters and a faltering last-summer box office took a chunk out of Imax’s profits, leaving the company to tout the impending arrival of two upcoming releases.
“The blockbuster slate is reigniting with two of the most highly anticipated releases in years — ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ and ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ — leading into a strong blockbuster slate in 2023,” Imax CEO Richard Gelfond said on an earnings call.
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But there’s still a few weeks to go before those films hit theaters. During its most recent quarter, Imax saw its quarterly losses widen to $9 million from $8.4 million in the prior-year period on the paucity of compelling content. However, things are still better than the worst of the COVID era. Revenue increased 21% to $68.8 million from $56.6 million in the year-ago period, while global box office at Imax reached $177.1 million, which was a 25% improvement from the $141.9 million it logged in the same quarter in 2021. The company’s highest-grossing releases were “Thor: Love and Thunder,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” Jordan Peele’s horror film “Nope” and “Moon Man,” a Chinese sci-fi comedy. The company said that local-language titles such as “Moon Man,” Japan’s “One Piece Red,” and India’s “Ponniyin Selvan: I” helped lift revenues.
The company said the quarterly results were impacted by $1 million in acquisition-related costs and a $4.3 million valuation allowance against deferred tax assets. When those were factored in, that left Imax with an adjusted net losses of 3 cents per-share, an improvement on the per-share loss of 5 cents that Imax reported a year ago.
But Wall Street didn’t respond favorably to the earnings results. Shares of Imax were down 2.28% in after-hours trading.
Looking ahead, Imax predicted that it would end 2022 on a high note with “Avatar: The Way of Water.” The latter film happens to be the sequel to the highest grossing Imax film of all time with more than $270 million in box office receipts to date.
“’Avatar: The Way of Water’ has the potential to be a cultural phenomenon in the same way its predecessor was,” Gelfond predicted. “And we are confident that Imax will take center stage.”
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