Last week, IMAX reported strong third quarter earnings, evidence of its position as one of the healthiest exhibitors in the global market. Blockbuster movie releases during the quarter such as BLACK WIDOW, SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS and NO TIME TO DIE (in select international markets) propelled IMAX to revenues of $56.6M, narrowing their quarterly loss to $8.4M. In normal times, a quarterly loss would not be something to cheer about. However, the pandemic has clobbered big exhibition for 18 months, and this narrow loss for IMAX in Q3 is an achievement, hinting that a return to profitability may be around the corner.
During their earnings call, IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond explained that a key to their current and future success is that, “IMAX is in the blockbuster business — and blockbusters will grow their dominance as more mid-tier films move to streaming platforms.” Many in the industry will question whether it is a bit premature to conclude that mid-tier films can no longer be successful in theatres. For example, Wes Anderson’s THE FRENCH DISPATCH is currently lighting up the specialty box office, produced on a budget of $25M. However, it is certainly true that IMAX’s moviegoers are drawn in by blockbusters.