IMAX Owns the World


IMAX (NYS: IMAX) is in a good place right now.

The company behind the supersized theatrical experiences issued its mid-quarter box office update yesterday.

The gross box office receipts collected during this quarter on IMAX screenings -- through May 13 -- was roughly $96.5 million, nearly triple the $32.6 million in sales during the same period last year.

Between the bar-raising success of Disney's (NYS: DIS) The Avengers and Lions Gate's (NYS: LGF) The Hunger Games -- and their expanded engagements on IMAX after blowout opening weeks -- it's not a shock to see IMAX screenings doing so well.

However, the real meat in the metrics rests in the geographical breakdown. Just $40.8 million of the $96.5 million in ticket sales realized over the past six weeks originated in North American theaters. International ticketing is the big winner at $55.7 million.

During last year's mid-quarter update, domestic sales were nearly double the company's international business.

Now, it's important for investors to know what these numbers mean. They can't just pull up the $71 million that analysts are targeting in revenue and wrongly assume that box office receipts alone will barrel past that target.

IMAX records just a piece of the $96.5 million in ticket sales. Movie studios and exhibitors take the biggest chunks, though IMAX takes a bigger bite than usual in joint-venture screens. The performance is still encouraging. Strong box office receipts result in movie studios trying harder to secure IMAX distribution and theater owners embracing the premium platform.

IMAX wins in more ways than one.

Feature attraction
I've been a believer in IMAX for years. It's been a market beater both times that I have recommended IMAX as an investment to Rule Breakers newsletter subscribers. As part of the CAPScall initiative for accountability, I've also had a bullish IMAX call on Motley Fool CAPS for some time.

If you're ready for a different kind of feature presentation, ask yourself if you know the two words that are scaring the pants off Steve Ballmer. It's a free report, but like a hot theatrical release it won't be showing forever, so check it out now.

At the time thisarticle was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of IMAX and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, except for Disney. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.

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