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RealD CEO Downplays Weak 3D Openings, As Company’s Q4 Beats the Street

The technology company reports $4.5 million in profits, thanks to growing international market

Helped by expansion into the global marketplace, 3D technology company RealD banked profits of $4.5 million for the most recent quarter, or 8 cents per share.

That compares with a loss of $20.9 million, or 85 cents per share, during the same period a year ago.

While overall box office cratered throughout the spring, revenues for the company, which produces and manufactures 3D projectors and glasses, jumped 5.6 percent to $58.5 million during its final quarter for fiscal year 2011.

On a call with analysts after the earnings were released, RealD CEO Michael Lewis maintained that concerns over the weaker than expected domestic 3D openings for “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” and “Kung Fu Panda 2” do not indicate that audiences are abandoning the format en masse.

“I don’t think two films a trend make,” Lewis said. “It is not about one particular film, it is not about one particular weekend, and it is not about one territory.”

To back up his claims that this was an aberration and not a trend, Lewis cited the example of “Despicable Me,” which generated only 45 percent of its opening weekend box office in 3D, but became the company’s third highest grossing release over the last fiscal year.

The quarterly results beat Wall Street’s expectations. Analysts had projected that RealD would have a loss of 15 cents per share, and report $51.9 million in revenues, according to Thomson Reuters.

The number of RealD enabled screens rose 183 percent to 15,000 worldwide, helped by significant growth in Europe and Latin America. RealD says it currently controls 80 percent of the domestic 3D business.

While the bulk of the business continues to be theatrical film releases, Lewis projected that the company would continue to expand heavily into consumer electronics, but offered few specifics.

Buoyed by the stronger than expected results, shares of the technology rose from $24.07 to $24.29 in after-hours trading.