IMAX still hurting, but optimistic
November 2, 2020
By Chris Forrester
Giant screen cinema operator IMAX recorded its highest-ever losses for its Q3 trading. They were brought about because of its Covid-impacted revenues which plummeted to $37.3 million from $86.4 million in the same period in 2019.
But the revenues could have been worse. Asian revenues, where the Covid restrictions had been relaxed, helped boost income from Q2’s miserable $8.9 million.
Profits were consequently sharply down with a Q3 net loss versus earnings of $9 million in the prior-year period. Revenues beat consensus expectations of $31.6 million.
IMAX remains bullish with confidence helped by $305 million cash in the bank. It also expects average monthly cash flow for Q4/2020 and Q1/2021 to be approximately at break-even levels, representing continued free cash flow improvement.
IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond stated: “As the only global theatrical platform for blockbuster entertainment, our experience around the world has proven that audiences will enthusiastically return to the movies where theatres are open and they feel safe. As they do return, they are coming back to [us] — underscoring the enduring strength of our brand and the power of The IMAX Experience.”
He continued: “Since reopening in late July, China has generated more than $1.7 billion of total box office. Average weekly grosses at the overall Chinese box office are approximately 70 per cent of second half 2019 levels, despite continued capacity limitations that are only recently raised to 75 per cent and a lack of Hollywood film releases, which typically accounts for more than a third of the overall Chinese box office. More importantly, IMAX’s average weekly box office since reopening has rebounded to approximately 95 per cent of our average weekly box office in the second half of 2019.”
The company installed 23 systems and signed agreements for 10 systems in the quarter.
Gelfond added: “IMAX remains well-positioned to manage through the continued recovery of the global film industry as cinemas await the return of Hollywood tentpoles.”