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IMAX Projects a Huge Quarter

By Rick Munarriz - Updated Apr 6, 2017 at 1:21PM

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The big-screen movie mogul returns to profitability.

Thinking small isn't in IMAX's (Nasdaq: IMAX) vocabulary.

The company behind the gargantuan screens and amped-up cinematic experiences delivered the best quarter in its 43-year history this morning. Fueled by the premium success of News Corp.'s (Nasdaq: NWSA) Avatar and Disney's (NYSE: DIS) Alice in Wonderland -- as well as exhibitors' demand to hop aboard the IMAX bandwagon -- revenue soared 120% to $72.8 million. A small quarterly loss a year earlier reversed itself nicely, as IMAX scored a profit of $0.40 a share -- or $0.53 a share, if you back out stock-based compensation.

Wall Street had set the bar high, but apparently not high enough. IMAX's results topped analyst expectations for $0.37 a share in earnings on $67.2 million in revenue.

IMAX is firing on all cylinders. It inked deals for 41 new theaters or digital upgrades during the quarter, more than the 35 it signed through all of 2009.

Avatar's success has validated IMAX; its screens accounted for $231 million of the film's record box office. Whether theaters are signing stand-alone deals, or following AMC and Regal (NYSE: RGC) in going with joint venture deals, the movie's success ironically makes it less necessary for IMAX to land another Avatar to top this quarter.

After all, revenue-sharing proceeds have popped nearly tenfold -- from $1.9 million to $18.9 million. But this also means that IMAX will have a larger installed base with every passing quarter. It also finds other studios scrambling to make sure that their tentpole blockbusters go in for the IMAX treatment. Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) -- one of the earliest believers in IMAX's role in drumming up incremental ticket sales -- announced a deal yesterday in which it will commit as many as 20 films for IMAX supersizing between now and 2013.

Meanwhile, IMAX's next blockbuster could be just around the corner, as Iron Man 2 kicks off a promising slate of upcoming films next week.

Shares of IMAX have roughly doubled since their initial recommendation to Motley Fool Rule Breakers subscribers in the single digits five years ago. The company has had a rocky run along the way, but after posting four consecutive profitable quarters and establishing its place as provider of premium moviegoing experiences, it's hard to fathom that IMAX's screen won't get even bigger in the years to come.

Have you ever been to an IMAX theater? Was it worth the premium? Please share your perspective in the comment box below.

Walt Disney is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. IMAX is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Walt Disney is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a movie buff who owns shares in Disney, but holds no financial position in any other company listed above. 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.

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Stocks Mentioned

IMAX Corporation Stock Quote
IMAX Corporation
IMAX
$16.85 (1.69%) $0.28
The Walt Disney Company Stock Quote
The Walt Disney Company
DIS
$121.57 (3.30%) $3.88
Time Warner Inc. Stock Quote
Time Warner Inc.
TWX
Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. Stock Quote
Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc.
FOXA

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