High-definition exhibitor Imax Feb. 23 said business is almost back to pre-Covid 2019 days, as box office revenue increased 86% to $255 million in fiscal 2021 (ended Dec. 31), from $137 million in 2020. The fiscal loss declined nearly 85% to $22.3 million, from $143.8 million in 2020.
The exhibitor’s fourth quarter was highlighted by its strongest quarterly results since 2019 across key financial metrics, including: revenue growth of 94% to $108.6 million; improvement in net income to $10.1 million versus a loss of $21.2 million in the prior-year period.
Notably, the quarterly results met or exceeded pre-pandemic levels across key metrics. Imax delivered operating income, global box office and gross margin in the fourth quarter of 2021 that exceeded the fourth quarter of 2019.
Separately, Imax lauded the availability of its “enhanced” movies on more than 80 million Disney+ approved devices. Imax Enhanced content on Disney+ features an expanded aspect ratio of 1.90:1, which allows viewers to see up to 26% more of the original image and experience the full scale and scope of the picture. This differs from most movies where the picture appears wide but does not take up the full height of the TV screen. Some movies only have select-sequences filmed in Imax’s expanded aspect ratio.
“In the fourth quarter alone, Imax turned in a dominating performance at the global box office, launched a major streaming partnership with Disney+, and created a series of exclusive events connecting theatrical and streaming in a way that few brands can,” CEO Richard Gelfond said in a statement.
“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,” Gelfond said. “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.”