Imax reported its fourth-quarter 2020 financials on Thursday, reporting a loss of $21.2 million although the company beat analysts’ revenue expectations due to strong performance in Asian markets.
The company reported a loss of 21 cents per share. Wall Street had forecast a loss of 20 cents per share on $46.81 million in revenue, according to consensus estimate compiled by Yahoo Finance. Imax actually reported $56 million in revenue, which was a decline of nearly 55% from the same quarter in the year prior. The company also ended the year with $317 million in cash and equivalents, up from $305 million at the close of the third quarter.
Despite North American theaters remaining closed, the company saw strong performances in China and Japan, where “local language releases recorded box office numbers at near pre-pandemic levels,” according to the report.
Two weeks ago, the corporation had its best-ever opening weekend for the Chinese New Year holiday, grossing $25 million with “Detective Chinatown 3.” It grew 45% over its record-breaking 2019.
The company also credited the growth of its global network for its revenue, having installed 33 systems and signed 11 agreements in the fourth quarter for The Imax Experience.
Last year, the quarter ended with $124.3 million in revenue and a profit of $18.2 million. Imax’s year revenue was $137 million, compared to 2019’s revenue of $395.7 million due to the impact of the pandemic.
“As the world’s only global blockbuster entertainment platform, we are encouraged to see that audiences are eager to return to the movies where the virus is under control and they feel safe, and this promising trend is reflected in our consistent financial improvement since the start of the pandemic,” Imax CEO Richard L. Gelfond said in a statement. “Imax continues to lead the recovery of the movie industry in markets like China and Japan as audiences seek out The Imax Experience®, driving record-breaking performances among local language films, gaining market share, and growing our relationships with local exhibitors, studios, and filmmakers.”
Gelfond continued, “Given strong demand for The Imax Experience in Asia, the extremely promising pipeline of Hollywood blockbusters, and the accelerating pace of vaccinations in North America and Europe, we remain confident and optimistic that the global film industry is poised for a strong and sustainable recovery in the second half of 2021.”
In October, the struggling Imax furloughed 150 employees. The furloughs did not affect the company’s offices in China and Japan, where theaters had reopened and the box office had significantly recovered by then due to the government’s successful containment of COVID-19, which led the increased capacity in movie theaters.