IMAX Corp. today reported total revenues of $33.7 million for the first quarter ended March 31, 2009, a 43% increase compared to total revenues of $23.5 million for the first quarter of 2008. Operating income increased to $2.0 million, a $7.6 million increase compared to last year's operating loss of $5.6 million. The Company's first quarter net loss per diluted share of $0.06 compares favorably to the net loss per diluted share of $0.25 for the first quarter of fiscal 2008.
IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond stated, "We have often said that our introduction of digital and our joint revenue sharing initiative would yield improved financial results and we believe the first quarter reflects early progress towards this goal. Our highest level of sales-type lease system installs in over two years, the continued rapid growth of our joint revenue sharing theater network and our focus on cost containment were the primary drivers of our improved performance. We are particularly encouraged by our performance given that the first full-length new IMAX DMR release did not occur until Warner Bros.' WATCHMEN opened in March, the last month of the quarter. Given the early success of our digital roll-out, our strong line-up of film product and our focus on cost containment, we continue to believe that we should achieve strong revenue growth and return to profitability in 2009."
IMAX systems revenue increased over 100% to $16.5 million versus $8.2 million in the prior year period. The Company installed and recognized revenue on nine theatre systems that qualified as either sales or sales-type leases in the first quarter of 2009 (including three digital upgrades), compared to four in 2008. Revenue from joint revenue sharing arrangements increased nearly six-fold to $1.9 million, compared to $0.3 million last year. The company installed 22 new systems under joint revenue sharing arrangements (including five digital upgrades of theatres under joint revenue sharing arrangements) in the first quarter of 2009, compared to zero in the year ago period.
For the first quarter of 2009, film revenue increased 6% to $7.8 million, compared to $7.4 million in the first quarter of 2008. This included production and IMAX DMR revenues of $3.7 million compared to $2.9 million a year ago.
Gelfond continued, "On the film side, WATCHMEN: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE delivered a domestic per screen average of approximately $92,000 and MONSTERS VS. ALIENS: AN IMAX 3D EXPERIENCE has grossed an average of $126,000 per screen in IMAX theatres to date, outpacing both the 2D and other 3D versions of the film on a per screen basis. We are very encouraged that, in these challenging economic times, consumers are continuing to embrace The IMAX Experience."
Looking ahead to the remainder of the 2009 film slate, STAR TREK: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE (Paramount Pictures), will be released to 167 IMAX theaters today at 7:00 PM for a two-week limited engagement, followed by NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE (Twentieth Century Fox, May 22, 2009); TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE (Paramount Pictures, June 2009); HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: AN IMAX 3D EXPERIENCE (WB, July 2009); DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL: AN IMAX 3D EXPERIENCE (Walt Disney Pictures and ImageMovers Digital, November 2009); and JAMES CAMERON'S AVATAR: AN IMAX 3D EXPERIENCE (Twentieth Century Fox, December 2009). The company believes it will also have an additional DMR title in the fall.