There’s nothing like some superhero flicks and family friendly blockbusters to turn things around at the box office.
Revenues and profits at Imax jumped during the second quarter thanks to the commercial success of “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” and “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.” For the three-month period ending in June, revenue jumped 38% to $98 million, while profits topped out at $8.4 million or 15 cents a share, up from a loss of $2.9 million or 5 cents a share in the prior-year period. Elsewhere on the balance sheet, gross margins improved 31% to $57.9 million, while adjusted EBITDA climbed 29% to $32.8 million.
As of June 30, 2023, Imax’s liquidity was $420 million, while total debt was $262.4 million. The summer box office has struggled to catch fire and there are signs that the exhibition sector has yet to fully recover from Covid shutdowns. However, Richard L. Gelfond, CEO of Imax believes that the experience Imax offers with its larger screens (which carry higher ticket prices) have allowed the company to outperform other theater chains.
“Imax demonstrated its ever-strengthening position at the vanguard of cinema,” Gelfond told analysts on Wednesday. “The paradigm shift to Imax has never been more apparent.”
Imax has continued to perform well with the release of “Oppenheimer,” which Christopher Nolan shot with the company’s cameras. The historical drama about the making of the atomic bomb earned $35 million, representing 20% of its total opening weekend receipts, from Imax screens.
“Increasingly, it’s clear the future of the movie business is Imax,” Gelfond said, adding that Imax’s premium screens helped turn “Oppenheimer” into “a cultural event.”
However, the actors and screenwriters strikes that are roiling Hollywood could negatively impact Imax if studios delay the release of major movies, which some have signaled is possible. Gelfond said he was confident that most films would premiere as planned.
“While there is some concern about release dates shifting due to the labor strikes, we believe nearly all of our second half slate has wrapped shooting,” he said. “Additionally, given our surging indexing, we believe studios will be reluctant to move films on our slate — and potentially sacrifice an already agreed to Imax window.”
Imax shares were up more than 2% in after-hours trading on the strength of its earnings report.