Not again, IMAX
Revenues fell by 28% to $27.5 million. Second-quarter profits from continuing operations replaced a $0.04-per-share profit a year earlier with a deficit of $0.11 per share. Wall Street was expecting a loss of $0.03 per share on $34.9 million in total revenues.
Revenue from new theater installations dipped as expected, but film revenues also suffered a deep, 32% slide. That's a pretty precipitous slip from a line item that had served as one of the highlights during the recent dark quarters.
Film revenues were growing consistently at IMAX until now. The company's ability to team up with successful theatrical releases and its growing installed base of bigger-than-life screen systems were providing dependable growth.
Yes, Superman Returns was big on IMAX a year ago, but Sony's
The lumpy installation revenues should also begin to straighten out as more of the company's joint venture deals with multiplex operators like Regal
Further down the road, IMAX's move to push digital projection systems as early as late next year will help improve content delivery costs and enhance programming flexibility beyond the initial upgrade burden.
This doesn't ease the second-quarter sting. Investors have suffered through a botched sale of the company, corrective accounting, and dealing with a company that often can't even schedule its conference calls correctly. This is the second time that the company has had to bump its second-quarter earnings release (it did so last year, too).
IMAX should be a shining beacon to a battered movie house industry, providing greater ticket sales than through conventional screens. However, it still feels as if IMAX can use a savior of its own. If suitors come calling, let's hope that IMAX is humble enough to answer.
IMAX was recommended two summers ago to Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter subscribers. No, it hasn't all gone well, but you can read the original recommendation and have access to all of the growth stock picks with a free trial subscription. Thankfully, the average pick has beaten the market. Time Warner is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz loves to spot great things early. It's why he's been with The Motley Fool since 1995. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy, and it looks smoking hot on one of those eight-story IMAX screens.