This morning's quarterly report out of IMAX
The purveyor of premium exhibitor experiences delivered $33.7 million in revenue, up a sharp 43% from last year's first quarter. IMAX posted a loss of $0.06 a share, a lot less bloodshed than the $0.25-a-share deficit it reported a year ago. Analysts missed out on the bubbly, projecting a loss of $0.08 a share on just $30.6 million in revenue.
IMAX is hitting all of the right notes. New theaters keep opening up, and the company delivered nine new theater systems as sales or sales-type leases, three of which were digital upgrades to existing screens. IMAX also beefed up its presence through its joint-venture deals with multiplex operators such as AMC and Regal
IMAX is becoming a bigger bet on the slate of movie releases. The first quarter wasn't much to write home about. The movie queue was nearly bone dry until Time Warner's
As the summer movie season approaches, however, things will heat up in a hurry. Viacom's
IMAX now has 371 screens in operation worldwide, 24% more than a year ago. However, many of those are older installations in museums or stand-alone attractions. 250 of the screens are commercial theater locations, and that is a sharp 40% improvement over the past year. Just 73 of the systems are digital, so there is also room for upgrades.
IMAX is in the right place at the right time. Box-office sales are trending higher this year, positioning the industry as a surprising recession-resistant winner. IMAX shareholders are being rewarded. The stock has nearly tripled since bottoming out in November. It is still trading below where I recommended it to Rule Breakers subscribers four years ago, but at least now it's almost beating the market.
With exhibitors drawn to offering the IMAX premium experience and the fast-growing network of joint-venture screens set to become material contributors, it's no wonder that IMAX is projecting healthy growth and a return to profitability this year.
The screen isn't the only thing fading to black.
Other hits to catch on your not-so-big monitor screen:
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a movie buff but he does not own shares in any of the companies in this story, save for DreamWorks Animation. 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.