What’s up with IMAX? Just about everything over the last week or so, it seems — contributing to an 11.7% spike in the stock price since last Wednesday. It touched a 52-week high this morning ($33.88) bringing it to its highest level since mid-2011.
IMAX likely will benefit from Paramount’s announcement yesterday that it will release Mission:Impossible 5 on July 31, ahead of the previous plan for Christmas Day. The move takes the Paramount action film out of the way of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and gives IMAX an opportunity to show the follow-up to 2011’s Mission:Impossible 4 — which had been partially shot with IMAX cameras and was a hit in its venues. IMAX is committed to Star Wars, but didn’t have a film lined up for the end of July, B. Riley & Co’s Eric Wold notes this morning.
“Mission: Impossible 5 would clearly trump Point Break as a choice for the 7/31 slot,” he says this morning. Assuming he’s right, that “would not only put an upward bias on IMAX box office expectations for the year, but continue to buoy the already strong shares,” Wold says.
But the momentum began earlier based on box office results that played out this past weekend: IMAX’s 196 screens in China accounted for $6.8 million in box office sales for The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies. With 14% market share, this was the company’s second highest three-day total there, after Transformers: Age Of Extinction.
There was also encouraging news stateside. American Sniper became IMAX’s highest-grossing January release, having generated $18.8 million on 333 screens.
Oh, and for what it’s worth: Last week IMAX announced that it teamed with Carnival to build its first theater on a cruise ship. It will be on the Carnival Vista, a ship expected to set sail in early 2016.