Imax once again beat Wall Street earnings projections, reporting Q3 revenue of $103.9 million on Wednesday morning after a strong run at the box office fueled by Christopher Nolan’s July release “Oppenheimer.”
Quarterly revenue rose 51% year-over-year from the $68.8 million reported in Q3 2022 by the premium format company, with adjusted earnings per share of 35 cents. Analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research forecasted earnings of $89 million for the quarter for earnings of 16 cents per share.
“Imax financial results for the third quarter are spectacular by any measure — versus budget, versus our historical performance and in the context of a highly dynamic business environment for media and entertainment,” said Richard L. Gelfond, Chief Executive Officer of Imax. “We are programming by far the strongest and most diverse content portfolio in our history — Hollywood blockbusters, local language films, marquee theatrical releases by streamers, concert films, docs, Live events – and we couldn’t be more pleased with the results across our global network.”
Gelfond pointed to the company’s outsized performance with blockbusters and expansion of their local language strategy as reasons for the company’s strong growth.
At the global box office, Imax grossed $347 million for a 96% increase over Q3 2022, where a lack of Hollywood releases due to pandemic-related production backlogs caused grosses to crater throughout the quarter. It is the second-highest grossing quarter in the company’s history.
Of that $347 million, $184 million — or 53% — came solely from “Oppenheimer,” which had three weeks of guaranteed exclusive play on all Imax screens worldwide as part of the agreement that brought Christopher Nolan to Universal for the first time after decades of partnering with Warner Bros.
“Oppenheimer” stands as one of the top 5 highest grossing films in Imax history, with the format accounting for 19% of the film’s $945 million global box office total. That total makes “Oppenheimer” the third highest grossing film of Nolan’s career behind only “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” and also makes it the highest grossing biopic in box office history.
In addition to “Oppenheimer,” Imax’s strong quarter was fueled by “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, ” “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” and the Chinese epic “Creation of the Gods: Kingdom of Storms.”
Since theaters reopened following the COVID-19 pandemic, Imax’s footprint on the theatrical market has gotten larger and larger, with the company projecting a final annual global box office total of more than $1.1 billion, putting it on pace to set a new record for box office market share this year.
With audiences more selective about what they see in theaters yet choosing to spend extra on premium formats when buying a ticket, demand for Imax auditoriums has increased. The company reports that it has made signings for 120 new and upgraded Imax auditoriums worldwide, more than double the 47 auditoriums that it signed last year.