Boxofficemojo.com reports that the film has now taken in more than $230 million domestically and more than $330 million outside the U.S. Adding those two numbers will get you one heck of a magical number. Yet a press release caught my eye concerning another type of box office tally, one that has to do with Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation IMAX
IMAX announced some interesting results for the last weekend in November -- results involving the Potter film and a re-release of 2004's holiday offering The Polar Express. During this three-day period, Harry Potter took in $1.85 million (this was the picture's second weekend out in the IMAX format) and Express took in $1.22 million for a combined gross of approximately $3.1 million, which the release indicated was the "highest grossing weekend ever" at IMAX locations.
This got me thinking about IMAX -- again. The company's goal is to immerse the audience in the film via its advanced delivery system, which consists of huge screens and large-format prints. That's an extremely oversimplified description, but you can check out more facts at the company's website. The bottom line is that these theaters go the distance to create a larger-than-life experience, and as a result, they offer a competitive alternative to the traditional theaters you find at the mall.
The concept of these theaters as a long-term investment is a tantalizing one. But it remains, in my eyes, very speculative. Honestly, I have no idea whether these complexes will be compelling 20 years from now. New technologies may come along to make them obsolete. Look at what home theaters, the Internet, and quick DVD releases have done to the traditional multiplex.
Nevertheless, I am still fascinated by IMAX, and I am willing to speculate intellectually that it will be relevant 20 years from now. To proffer a point, I'm not sure that home theaters will come equipped with multiple-story screens anytime soon. In addition, people will always want to go out and visit theaters because it is a social exercise that serves important purposes, such as dating, hanging out, etc. If celluloid consumers want more bang for their buck, then they may want to consider IMAX, which might just be in its early stage of growth.
According to the company's 2004 annual report, operational cash flow has been rocky over the past few years, but not disastrous: $22.3 million in 2002, negative $9.1 million in 2003, and $11.4 million in 2004. The company had a decent third quarter, matching its performance in the previous period. And according to Yahoo! Finance, the five-year PEG is currently about 1.2. For a speculative idea with a potentially gangbuster future, that's not bad.
I'm a staunch believer that content is king. That's why I own Disney
More on IMAX:
- IMAX Gets Small
- Foolish Forecast: Imagining IMAX
- IMAX Screening in Russia
- Also check out the IMAX discussion board.
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Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns shares of Disney and Marvel Enterprises. He'll probably have to actually enter an IMAX theater before he takes the plunge and invests. The Fool has a disclosure policy . Time Warner and Marvel Enterprises are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations.