The market hasn't rewarded IMAX's (NYSE: IMAX) incredible performance during the release of The Dark Knight Rises, but the film has shown the power and potential IMAX has in the movie market. Despite absurd ticket prices ($18 in my local market of Minneapolis), people came out in droves to see Christopher Nolan's creation that included more than an hour of footage filmed with IMAX cameras.

Opening weekend was impressive for Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX) subsidiary Warner Bros. film in IMAX, but the story since then has only improved. In its opening weekend, IMAX accounted for 11.8% of the box office, largely at sold out theaters. But over the following week, when people had their choice of seats in theaters, IMAX performed even better.


Domestic IMAX Box Office

Domestic Total Box Office

Percentage of Total

Opening weekend $19 million $160.9 million 11.8%
First 10 days $37.8 million $287.1 million 13.2%
Second weekend $9 million $64.1 million 14%

Source: IMAX press releases.

This is partly because IMAX performs well with action films, but it is also partly due to the immersive IMAX experience Nolan was able to create. The amazing thing is that this performance wasn't even helped by the extra cost 3-D movies usually come with.

The 3-D movie doesn't appear to be the sell it once was, as RealD (NYSE: RLD) investors are finding out today. The company won't benefit from the biggest movie of the summer, and the second quarter was much worse than expected.

IMAX has a lot of momentum with movie studios after a strong showing from Disney's (NYSE: DIS) The Avengers, Lions Gate Entertainment's (NYSE: LGF) The Hunger Games, and now The Dark Knight Rises. I expect this to result in having more films being shot in IMAX, just as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will be. Moviegoers seem to be willing to pay extra for the experience, and that should be music to investors' ears.

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