Giant screen operator IMAX suffered a depressing Q1 with revenues of just $34.9 million ($80.2 million same period 2019) and a net loss of $59.4 million ($12.5 million profit last year).
Key progress was still being made, and during the quarter-year IMAX installed 12 new systems which took its overall commercial cinema network to 1526 theatres, up 7.5 per cent in the year.
Its box office revenues, as for all cinemas, has evaporated. CEO Rich Gelfond updated analysts saying that, prior to this year’s Coronavirus problems, IMAX was coming off two consecutive years of record-breaking global box office. “Last year we set records for global, local language and international box office including box office records in 27 countries worldwide,” he said.
“Moving to China, our unique position in this market also offers us an insight into the Covid-19 situation. Given our vast network in China, where we have more than 700 theaters IMAX has been managing through the impact of this virus since January. This provides us with an up close on-the-ground look at the trajectory of theater closures and re-openings and consumer behavior patterns, especially as China works to restart its economy,” he added.
“Just yesterday a member of the Chinese government announced that he expected theatres to begin opening in early June. When theatres do reopen in China, we believe IMAX will benefit from an exceptional slate. We are prepared to immediately distribute many of the classic titles and are under consideration for release, when the theatres resume operations followed by many of the Hollywood titles earlier in the year that have yet to be seen in China,” Gelfond told analysts.
“The process of reopening theatres will be measured and will acquire time for the industry to build the type of theater-going momentum capable of supporting a blockbuster release. But first we expect theatres to reopen with promotional pricing and library content in cooperation with Hollywood Studios,” he concluded.