Imax Returns To Pre-Pandemic Form With Q4 Profit And Record Share Of 2021 Box Office

Imax marked an official turning point in the fourth quarter, reporting its best results in any quarter since 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic upended show business and civilization.

Paced by Spider-Man: No Way Home and other strong titles in the quarter, revenue soared 94% over the year-earlier period, to $108.6 million. Earnings of 17 cents a share compared with a year-ago loss of 36 cents a share. Both key metrics came in ahead of Wall Street analysts’ consensus forecast, and investors boosted shares in Imax 7% in after-hours trading on the upside surprise.

In capping off 2021, the company repeated the box office stats it had first released in early January. For the full year, box office hit $638 million, a jump of 146% from the company’s 2020 total. Overall global box office bounced back to $21.4 billion, up 78% from the depths of 2020, though that was still barely halfway to the all-time record set in 2019.

In the fourth quarter, ticket sales climbed 15%. The top five Imax performers in the quarter were Spider-Man: No Way Home, Dune, No Time to Die, China’s The Battle at Lake Changjin and Eternals.

“The fact that Imax is driving results at or above what we achieved in 2019 — which was by many measures, our best year ever — reaffirms that we are not an exhibitor and have moved beyond recovery mode,” CEO Rich Gelfond said in the earnings release. “With strong a balance sheet that affords us security and capital allocation flexibility, we are well-positioned to capitalize on our momentum and continue to evolve and grow our business.”

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