Regardless of the variety of productions delayed this 12 months by the coronavirus pandemic, Imax CEO Richard Gelfond on CNBC Monday mentioned the brand new 12 months may show to be profitable for his firm.
Whereas studios paused tapings, movie releases have been additionally delayed as film theaters closed throughout the nation in response to the Covid-19 outbreak earlier this 12 months. Gelfond expects to recoup at the least among the income that was missed out on in 2020, ought to optimistic forecasts for holding the worldwide well being disaster play out as hoped, giving Imax a lift as film lovers search out immersive leisure that they cannot get at residence.
“In a method, 2021, if issues do open early within the 12 months, it is a humiliation of riches,” he mentioned in a “Closing Bell” interview. “There’s an terrible lot of content material, and that is true on a worldwide foundation.”
A number of the extremely anticipated movies that Gelfond is banking on to be launched subsequent 12 months embody “Prime Gun: Maverick,” “Black Widow” and “Quick & Livid 9.” Every of their deliberate 2020 releases have been pushed again to 2021. Imax additionally has publicity to international field places of work with areas in 82 international locations, the place different movies are additionally on backlog, Gelfond mentioned. North America makes up one-third of Imax’s international enterprise.
In 2019, Imax recorded its best-grossing 12 months with $1.035 billion in box-office gross sales. It was the second straight 12 months the corporate introduced in additional than $1 billion in whole receipts. That streak was damaged in 2020.
Imax income reached $395.7 million in 2019 after three straight years of about $370 million or extra. Income has suffered vastly prior to now three quarters, down 70% from the identical nine-month interval final 12 months.
“Thankfully, there is a huge backlog of films that exist already,” Gelfond mentioned.
As vaccine campaigns across the globe get underway and well being consultants plot potential reopening timelines, firms are mapping out once they anticipate to see enterprise rebound to pre-pandemic ranges.
Gelfond is projecting enterprise at Imax theaters to start to enhance by summer season with the launch of “Prime Gun: Maverick,” starring Tom Cruise and Jennifer Connelly.
“I feel by then you definitely’ll begin to method 100% ranges after which actually by the fourth quarter it’s going to be utterly open,” he mentioned. Given the optimism that the U.S. economic system will bounce again rapidly after the nation reaches preferrred immunity ranges, “I feel it is extremely doubtless that by the second quarter issues are going to begin to open up right here.”
Shares of Imax rose 4% on Monday, closing at $17.70. The inventory is down 13% 12 months up to now.