The number of screens may not move the needle. IMAX closed its third quarter with 470 gargantuan systems in place worldwide. Regal
Cinemark's decision to update its entire fleet -- eight strong by the end of April -- also indicates that the multiplex operator sees the long-term potential in IMAX's digital systems that generate greater programming flexibility and film reel savings over time.
It's not just the corner multiplex drawn to IMAX. Theater goers are also choosing the supersized experiences. Box office receipts for the movie theaters were flattish in 2010, but IMAX screenings of digitally remastered flicks generated $546 million in ticket sales last year, doubling the previous year's $271 million in receipts.
Movie fans are willing to pay a premium to see a flick blown up on IMAX, and even more when it's enhanced in 3-D. Leading 3-D outfitter RealD
Shares of IMAX may have hit highs last seen in 1999 last week on silly Sony
We're not more than a year removed from the IMAX-defining release of News Corp.'s
Is an IMAX screening worth the premium? Please share your perspective in the comments box below.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a movie buff, but he doesn't own shares in any of the stocks in this story, except for Disney. 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.