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IMAX (NYSE: IMAX ) wasn't blessed with one major blockbuster in the second quarter, but it turned a few decent films into another solid quarter. Revenue was up 17% on the back of three films and an expanding theater network, and net income rose 7%, to $11.8 million, or $0.17 per share.
Total box office at IMAX was $219.7 million, driven by Disney's (NYSE: DIS ) Iron Man 3, which grossed $39.3 million by the end of its opening weekend on May 6, the last time detailed figures were reported. Domestically, management said IMAX accounted for 9% of the film's $407 million box office, which would be about $36.6 million.
The other notable films were Star Trek Into Darkness, where Trekies spend 14% of the $225 million domestic box office in IMAX theaters, and Man of Steel, where 13% of the $286 million domestic box was IMAX. All three of these films generated over $50 million in IMAX box office, showing amazing consistency in getting its film selection right.
Expansion drives growth
It's important for IMAX to get blockbuster films to generate revenue, but earnings leverage comes from expanding, particularly overseas. Over the past year, the company's network has grown from 634 theaters, to 767, and there's a backlog of as many as 449 theaters, primarily in China, where consumers are IMAX hungry. This will help drive the bottom line going forward.
The other key driving revenue and earnings is that many of these theaters are joint ventures, which provides recurring revenue from each theater. When added with production and DMR revenue, IMAX generates around 30% of the box office at joint-venture theaters. In the second quarter, joint-revenue agreements generated $18.3 million in revenue, and DMR was $26.0 million.
Can IMAX outperform the market?
Slowly but surely, IMAX has been able to raise net income over the past year, and the long-term trend looks to be strong.
IMAX has shown its value to studios making blockbuster films, and with Disney set to release more Marvel films, and three more Star Wars movies, their partnership will help drive results.
The stock isn't cheap at 41 times trailing earnings, but the leverage IMAX has in expanding theaters could bring that figure down quickly. I think that this stock's still a good buy even at today's price.
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