Imax Revenues Fall 12% to $86 Million in Q4 on Box Office Downturn

While a lack of big blockbusters was felt, the premium movie exhibitor still reported flat earnings of 5 cents per share, as adjusted net income fell 12%

IMAX Earnings
Photo illustration by TheWrap

The lack of hit blockbusters in the fourth quarter of 2023 took a toll on Imax, but the diversification of the films the company exhibits on its premium screens helped keep it in the black on an earnings-per-share basis, as the company posted $86 million in revenue on Tuesday.

Some of the topline numbers:

Earnings per share: Imax reported adjusted earnings of 11 cents per share, slightly above projections of 10 cents by Zacks Investment Research. That is down from 19 cents per share in Q4 2022, which was boosted by the Christmas release of “Avatar: The Way of Water.”

Box office blues: Adjusted net income and total revenue both slipped 12% year-over-year, with net income coming in at $9.3 million.

A major factor in the downturn was Warner Bros.’ decision to move the release of “Dune: Part Two” from November 2023 to this coming Friday, March 1. While films like “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” and “Wonka” helped fill in the gap, superhero films “The Marvels” and “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” underperformed.

While the Denis Villeneuve sci-fi epic “Dune” sequel will boost Imax’s bottom line in this current quarter, the Imax screens that were committed to that film last November pivoted instead to “The Marvels,“ which became the first Marvel Studios film to fail to pass $100 million in domestic grosses.

Global reach: Despite the threadbare slate created in part by the Hollywood strikes, Imax was able to stem the tide thanks to its investments in local language films across the world. For the entire fiscal year, Imax earned a company record $227 million from non-English films, primarily in countries like China, India, Japan and France.

Imax also proudly touted the company’s $1.1 billion in global grosses in 2023, the second-highest ever year in the 54-year history of the company. That total is 25% above Imax’s 2022 total and 2% above the company’s average between 2017-19. Of that total, $185 million alone came from Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer,” which got three weeks of exclusive play at Imax theaters worldwide.

Imax also aims to continue its rapid expansion of its theater network, having signed agreements for 129 new and upgraded Imax systems across 26 territories in 2023.

In after-hours trading, Imax stock rose 4% at time of writing to $16.42/share.

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