Imax Q4 Sales Dip On Strike-Related Slate Shifts; CEO Touts Strong Full-Year 2023 Box Office, Says “I Feel A Lot Better Than I Did” About 2024

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Imax saw sales dip in the fourth quarter to $86 million from $98 million, in line with Wall Street forecasts, as the company focused on the full year and its accelerated global expansion. The stock has popped more than 8% in after-market trading on the numbers and outlook.

Adjusted ebitda (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization)was $23 million (also down from the year ago), and EPS was flat at 5 cents a share, also in line.  

The fourth quarter was hit by big ticket films moving out of 2023. Oppenheimer, which came out over the summer — in Q2 – was a big boost.

Full-year 2023 revenue jumped 25% to $375 million.

“As the entertainment landscape transforms, it is clear that IMAX is among its premier, in-demand destinations,” said CEO Rich Gelfond. He’s upbeat about Dune: Part 2, which opens this weekend and will get an Imax run. Both Oppenheimer and the new Dune were filmed in Imax. The Denis Villeneuve epic will jumpstart a string of big studio films in 2024 after the strike releases. I just fell a lot better than I did,” about the box office, said Rich Gelfond on a call after earnings.

The company lives on ticket sales, but also has a big tech and equipment business which continues to ink deals globally — with a record 61 of system installations last year coming from strategic Japan, South Korea and Europe. It’s already big in North American and China. “Even as we deliver an outsized share of the global box office, we estimate the current IMAX network is only at 47% penetration — with the opportunity to open nearly 2,000 additional locations worldwide,” Gelfond said.

Last year, he said, “saw Imax deliver a record at the North American box office, highest grossing year ever for local language films and overall box office approaching our best year ever. We are strategically managing our content portfolio to drive greater share of Hollywood releases, grow local language, accelerate our pipeline of IMAX Documentaries, and push further into emerging verticals including music and gaming, live experiences and recurring programming.

Gelfond gav ea shout out to Imax’ documentary division with the company in with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot and Amazon Studios on feature doc The Blue Angels, and is in production with Adam McKay’s Hyperobject Industries on Stormbound.

Events and experiences featured Queen Rock Montreal, an Imax remastering of the 1981 concert film, and a listening event New Blue Sun with hiphop artist André 3000.

Imax is also a launch partner for the Apple Visio Pro new headsets, “to test the Imax experience,” Gelfond said.

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