It's been three years since IMAX (NASDAQ:IMAX) posted a quarterly profit. You also have to go back to August 2006 to find the last time that the premium exhibitor's stock traded in the double digits.

Well, both of those gloomy streaks are toast this morning, after better-than-expected second-quarter results propped shares (temporarily) above the $10 mark.

The company behind gargantuan cinematic experiences -- for which multiplex owners hope you'll pay a few extra bucks -- delivered $41 million in revenue in its latest quarter, 94% ahead of last year's top-line showing. IMAX sported healthy upticks in new system installations and theater maintenance, but the real drivers here were a healthy slate of four celluloid blockbusters and the larger established theater base.

DreamWorks Animation's (NYSE:DWA) Monsters vs. Aliens, News Corp.'s (NYSE:NWS) Night at The Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, and a one-two punch from Viacom (NYSE:VIA) in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Star Trek kept the box office flowing with IMAX receipts. Gross ticket sales of $84.2 million for the IMAX versions of these four flicks were 346% higher than the films put out during last year's second quarter.

IMAX doesn't get all of that, naturally, but its $12.1 million slice is thicker than the $2.5 million it generated on that line item a year ago.

A profit of $0.05 a share reversed a steep deficit of $0.29 a share.

Analysts must have spent too much time at the concession stand to assess the company's true power. Wall Street was only expecting a profit of $0.02 a share on $37.5 million in revenue. Is it any wonder that this Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation has quadrupled since bottoming out nine months ago?

The party will continue. IMAX expects to continue to post positive results for the rest of the year. The company that once relied on Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) to fill its pipeline with IMAX-spiked releases now has every studio in town wanting in on the incremental action. Sony (NYSE:SNE) and Disney (NYSE:DIS) join Time Warner with releases for the second half of 2009.

There are now 394 IMAX screens around the country, with an order backlog of 171 more installations to go. The most exciting chunk of that is the company's 102 digital projection systems. A year ago, that count stood at zero.

Digital projection will afford IMAX exhibitors greater flexibility in programming, while studios love the cheaper film distribution costs.

Things will likely get even better as IMAX films play on more screens. As a leveraged company, IMAX has reached the point when it pays to step on the accelerator.

IMAX delivered a second-quarter operating profit of $6.5 million, but $4.1 million of that was swallowed up in debt interest payments. That leaves just $2.4 million in operating income after squaring away with its creditors. If IMAX's operating profits were to double to $13 million, its debt payments would remain the same, allowing operating income after interest to nearly quadruple.

The IMAX story is real. It just took three years to tell.

Other hits to catch on your not-so-big monitor screen:

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IMAX is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Disney and DreamWorks Animation are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a movie buff, owning shares in DreamWorks Animation and Disney. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool's disclosure policy never charges you extra to get the big picture.