The marriage between Marvel and Disney (NYSE:DIS) has been a smashing success for Disney, but there's another company that is singing Marvel's praises as well -- giant theater maker IMAX (NYSE:IMAX). Yesterday, the company announced that Iron Man 3 has already generated $39.3 million in global box office after just one weekend in the U.S. and 10 days internationally.
To put this into perspective, IMAX box office during the entire first quarter was $128.7 million, just over four times what Iron Man 3 has done in a short run.
Last year, it was The Avengers that powered IMAX's year and this year Iron Man 3 shows the way. With Disney pumping out Marvel movies every year, there is even more upside for IMAX and Disney if they so choose. So far, it hasn't been announced that The Wolverine, Thor: The Dark World, or Captain America: The Winter Soldier will be released in IMAX over the next year, but it would make sense to bring them into the fold. Investors also have the next series of Star Wars films to look forward to because they'll likely be shown in IMAX as well.
3-D's fleeting hope
IMAX has also begun putting RealD (UNKNOWN:RLD.DL) in the rear-view mirror when it comes to premium theater profits. It's been proven that people are willing to pay extra for a premium movie experience, but RealD's all-3D all the time isn't what people are looking for. If you're willing to pay for the experience, it has to be worthwhile and that's what IMAX has provided in both 2-D and 3-D.
Foolish bottom line
IMAX needs blockbuster films to power earnings and Marvel has been a steady provider of these films recently. Now, investors just need to hope that Disney and IMAX extend that partnership to the full Marvel and Lucasfilm lineup of movies because that could drive IMAX's earnings for the next five years.
What drives Disney forward?