The box office performance of Marvel’s “Black Panther,” which drove IMAX to a record February, helped the theater chain beat its earnings estimates for the first quarter of 2018.
On Tuesday, IMAX reported $85 million in revenue, and adjusted earnings per share of 21 cents, passing analyst estimates of $81.06 million in sales and earnings of 11 cents per share.
The giant-screen chain pulled in $246.9 million at the global box office, including a $53 million take in February. IMAX released 22 films during the quarter, compared to 18 in the same time frame in 2017. In China, IMAX saw a 27 percent increase, largely thanks to the release of three local-language films over the Chinese New Year.
Even though it wasn’t part of IMAX’s first quarter, the movie theater company touted the performance of Marvel’s latest blockbuster, “Avengers: Infinity War,” which stormed to a record $41.5 million opening at the IMAX box office over the weekend. This doesn’t include China, where the film opens this weekend, but IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond mentioned during the earnings call that pre-sales have hit $4 million, the strongest in the company’s history.
“Our first quarter results were strong from both a financial and strategic standpoint. We modified our programming strategy, demonstrated operating leverage and set the table for the successful launch of IMAX with Laser, which was bolstered by over 150 signings to date,” said Richard L. Gelfond, IMAX CEO, in a statement accompanying the earnings results.
“In addition to benefitting from the revenue and cost initiatives we implemented last year–which helped drive Adjusted EBITDA growth of 70 percent, compared to Q1 last year–our recent performance also reflects IMAX’s growing value proposition to content-creators and moviegoers alike,” Gelfond continued. “As content-creators emphasize blockbuster-type content and as consumers seek differentiated moviegoing experiences, The IMAX Experience is becoming an increasingly important platform to launch and experience global franchise content.”
Gelfond concluded, “We believe our global footprint, coupled with our focus on creating differentiated experiences for the biggest cinematic releases, uniquely positions IMAX to benefit from these trends.”
The company added 16 new theaters during the quarter, bringing its global count to 1,382 theaters. IMAX also launched its first commercial theater in Saudi Arabia, which recently ended its 35-year cinema ban, with VOX Cinemas in Riyadh Park. “Avengers: Infinity War” was the first movie to play on its big screen.
IMAX stock opened at $23.85 earnings per share Tuesday, up 2.8 percent from Monday’s close.
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