Mission: Impossible for IMAX

IMAX (NYS: IMAX) : Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to stop your stock price from tumbling further in 2011.

Objective 1: take over China
International markets, China in particular, have been the driver of IMAX's growing backlog of theaters. Of the 282 theaters in backlog at the end of the second quarter, 157 of them were in China, with just 55 in the U.S. and Canada. After signing another joint-venture deal with CJ CGV Holdings this week to build 15 theaters in China, that backlog continues to grow.

IMAX and RealD (NYS: RLD) will continue to count on international markets for growth, as more people around the world are able to afford the luxury of premium movies.

Objective 2: securing a blockbuster release
The premium product that IMAX offers often rakes in 4 to 5 times the box-office haul taken at competing 3-D screens, which ends up leaving some money on the table. When IMAX screenings fill up on opening weekend, customers who may be willing to pay for IMAX are forced into other theaters. I know from personal experience -- the bigger the movie, the earlier you'd better get your IMAX tickets.

When Viacom (NYS: VIA) subsidiary Paramount's Transformers: Dark of the Moon was in theaters, it generated nearly 5 times the box-office business that regular 3-D screens did. It's action blockbusters like this that drive IMAX's revenue and earnings, and any advantage the company can get with studios is a big plus.

This morning, IMAX announced that it had secured a five-day pre-release for Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol, meaning it should be able to capture an even greater percentage of the movie's box-office performance. IMAX will open the movie on Friday, Dec. 16, and include 30 minutes of scenes shot with IMAX cameras. So find the biggest IMAX screen near you to get the true IMAX Experience.

Recapping the mission
With even more theater deals secured in China and a new strategy of pre-releasing blockbusters in IMAX, the stock should stop its tailspin as we enter the final quarter of 2011. Sony's (NYS: SNE) The Amazing Spider-Man as well as Time Warner's (NYS: TWX) The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey are all set to be shown in IMAX's expanding network of theaters in 2012. This Fool's take is that the market will soon realize what a great value this stock is.

Mission completed. This website will self destruct in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ...

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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorTravis Hoiumowns shares of IMAX. You can follow Travis on Twitter at@FlushDrawFool, check out hispersonal stock holdings, or follow his CAPS picks atTMFFlushDraw.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of IMAX. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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