Giant cinema screen specialists IMAX, reporting its Q1 numbers, says that its backlog of new cinema screen commitments is up 52 per cent on the same period last year. Moreover, to date this year it has signed 104 new installations, compared with just 37 last year (up 181 per cent).
“Building on our record signings in 2016, our momentum in the first four months of 2017 has continued at an extremely strong pace. Not only have we witnessed record signings to date, we have also seen exceptional box office performance from titles such as The Fate of the Furious, which did $30 million in its opening weekend in IMAX and broke numerous box office records including our biggest opening weekend ever in China,” said IMAX CEO Richard L Gelfond.
“We closed the first quarter with a 30-theatre deal with Bona and just recently announced a 40-theatre deal with Omnijoi and a 25-theatre deal with AMC-Odeon, bringing our year-to-date signings to a record 104 new theatres. Not only do these deals demonstrate our partners’ continued optimism in the IMAX business, they also underscore the global diversity of our future expansion. For instance, the Odeon deal has strategic significance to us on several fronts: it opens up markets in Western Europe such as Germany, Italy and Spain and significantly increases the Company’s exposure to Scandinavia, which historically has generated above-average box office per screen. These types of agreements are also important as they help facilitate increased awareness in underpenetrated markets, which ultimately drives exhibitor demand for additional IMAX theatres.”
During the quarter, IMAX installed 15 theatres, of which 14 were for new theatre locations and one was an upgrade. The total IMAX theatre network consisted of 1,226 systems as of March 31st 2017, of which 1,121 were in commercial multiplexes. There were 524 theatres in backlog as of March 31st 2017, up 35 per cent from the 388 in backlog as of March 31st 2016. Year to date, as of April 20th 2017, there were 589 theatres in backlog, up 52 per cent from the year-ago period.
Actual box office revenues were down y-o-y. Gross box office from IMAX titles was $212.1 million in Q1 of 2017, compared with $272.0 million in the prior-year period. The average global DMR box office per-screen average in the first quarter of 2017 was $189,300, compared with $284,400 in same period last year. The first-quarter 2016 film slate comparisons included Star Wars: The Force Awakens carryover, Batman v Superman and Deadpool. Other upcoming key releases include Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Transformers: The Last Knight, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Dunkirk.