IMAX Credits ‘Black Panther’ for Record February, Touts Q4 Earnings Boost From Holiday Season

Forget about last year, IMAX wants to thank the latest Marvel blockbuster for big February

“Black Panther” is the talk of Hollywood — even giving IMAX a boost with record box office take of $53 million this month.

“We recently achieved record box office in February, led by ‘Black Panther,’ which did $35 million in IMAX box office over the four-day opening weekend,” CEO Rich Gelfond in a statement announcing better-than-expected fourth quarter results. “In China, we exhibited three local-language titles during the Chinese New Year period and grew box office 60 percent, compared to the prior years’ holiday.”

For the three months ended December 31, IMAX reported $125.6 million million in revenue and an adjusted earnings per share of 34 cents — passing analyst estimates of  $118.8 million in sales and earnings of 32 cent per share. The giant-screen chain pulled in $278 million at the global box office, a 13 percent increase year-over-year.

IMAX didn’t mention the performance of another mega-hit, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” in its Q4 report. Despite a 6 percent dip at the domestic box office overall, IMAX’s ticket sales were up 17 percent during the second half of the year.

The company added 165 new theaters in 2017, bringing its global count to 1,272 theaters. Nearly 70 percent of those screens are outside the U.S.

“As we look to 2018, our primary focus is on expanding the earnings power of our core business,” added Gelfond. “We believe the combination of the initiatives we implemented last year, coupled with a growing international presence and reduced spend on non-core businesses and R&D, should help facilitate operating leverage in the future.”

Shares of IMAX stock were down 1.69 percent heading into earnings, trading at $23.25 at the closing bell.