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Why IMAX Corporation Shares Plunged 10% in April

By Travis Hoium – May 3, 2017 at 11:23AM

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Despite years of expansion, IMAX only broke even last quarter, and that didn't impress investors looking for improving results.

What happened 

Shares of theater specialist IMAX Corporation (IMAX 1.50%) fell 10.3% in April, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, after the company reported a fairly uninspiring quarter. 

So what 

First-quarter 2017 revenue fell from $92.1 million a year ago to just $68.7 million, and net income was just $75,000, or basically breakeven on a per-share basis. Box office for the quarter was $212.1 million, down from $272.0 million, as box office per screen dropped 33.4% to $189,300. 

Popcorn and glasses with a movie projector in the background.

Image source: Getty Images.

On the plus side, IMAX signed an expanded partnership in China that will add 40 new IMAX theaters to a network with Jiangsu Omnijoi Cinema Development, bringing its total to 72 theaters. It also signed a deal with AMC to add 25 theaters to its network in Europe. But these new deals weren't enough to excite investors, who are looking for results now

Now what 

IMAX has been rapidly building out its network since 2009, when Avatar showed the potential of the large-format theater business. But eight years later, the company is still only breaking even, even if it was a relatively slow quarter for big box office movies. Last quarter was mostly about adjusting expectations a little lower. 

IMAX needs big box office hits to drive earnings, and those hits that bring windfall profits haven't been terribly common lately. Until they are, the excitement behind IMAX's stock may be lacking as well.

Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends IMAX. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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