IMAX shares are up 5% this morning after the company delivered what Piper Jaffray analysts described as “blockbuster” fourth-quarter results. The company’s record revenue quarter is largely thanks to Gravity, a 3D science-fiction film starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney that is estimated to have reaped more than $700 million at box offices worldwide and $100 million from IMAX screens.
The Canadian large screen theater operator’s heyday, on the stock market at least, was in the late 1990’s, when its digital remastering technology enabled it to reformat Hollywood blockbusters for its screens. (The first example, according to the company, was Apollo 13). Prior to that, films had to be shot specifically for its format.
Now, the company is undergoing a bit of a renaissance, and not just in the US: it is also growing in huge emerging markets like India and China. (That said, the company faces a threat in the world’s most populous country from a competing large-screen system owned by the Chinese government.)