Where is Howie Mandel when you need him? After nine months of playing Deal or No Deal, officials of battered IMAX (NASDAQ:IMAX) announced over the weekend that they are abandoning plans to sell the company.

The bidding war started back in March, but I guess this wound up being more a game of Hot Potato than Monopoly. Couple a company that is bumbling on new screen installations with costly golden parachutes in the form of expensive pension payments that would be due its executives under a change in control, and the S.O.S. that shareholders were sending out -- Save Our Stock -- ultimately went unheeded.

As a naughty market performer in 2006, IMAX has its work cut out for itself in 2007. Its larger-than-life screens are still a great product that commands huge audiences willing to pay a premium to see first-run films, but shoddy financials and iffy accounting practices should lead to a shareholder revolt against the company's clumsy leaders.

Because it's one of the more disappointing Motley Fool Rule Breakers picks, I was hoping that one of its celluloid partners in the past, like Sony (NYSE:SNE), Disney (NYSE:DIS), or Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), would swoop in to buy the company and use the IMAX platform as a way to grow the global exposure of its annual tent-pole blockbusters. Failing that, private equity firms should have had the stomach to absorb the company's debt and the pension liabilities and still come in with a reasonable offer.

We may never know what the prices were that IMAX was dismissing, though it's hard to believe that the offers that were coming when the stock had poked its head into double digits were that unreasonable, especially when the company is exposed now as naked as it trades for less than $4 a share.

No, you can't go back and accept old offers. The dynamics have changed. IMAX is more desperate. Still, it leaves one to wonder if pride got the better of the company's leaders in turning down exit strategies that would have spared investors the brunt of the incompetence.

Despite the promise of ramped-up screen installations in 2007 and the introduction of digital projection systems in 2008, IMAX needs an injection of new thinking now. Shareholders need leaders they can trust, or at the very least leaders who won't drive a hard bargain when it's to their stockholders' detriment.

IMAX was recommended last summer to Rule Breakers newsletter subscribers. No, it hasn't gone well, and you can read the original recommendation and all of the growth stock picks with a free trial. Thankfully, the average pick has beaten the market convincingly. Disney and Time Warner are Stock Advisor picks.

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 companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.