UPDATED: Exhibition industry investors are finally looking past their early morning fears about the state of the economy and focusing on the weekend’s startling $204.6 million domestic box office results from Jurassic World. Sales stomped the Street’s consensus forecast for $125 million. The film generated an additional $307 million overseas.
Stock prices for the leading theater chains have moved up after opening mixed amid reports suggesting that Greece might default on its debt, and one showing an unexpected drop in industrial production last month.
It’s still early and the numbers likely will change, possibly a lot, over the course of the trading day. But at 11:30 ET Regal Entertainment was up 2.4% followed by Cinemark +2.3%, Carmike +0.9%, and Imax +0.2% (after touching a 52-week high of $42.98). But AMC Entertainment is flat and RealD slipped 1.4%. The Standard and Poors’ 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average are both down a little under 1%.
Analysts are breathing sigh of relief today as Jurassic lifts what many considered to be a disappointing quarter at box offices.
“Taking the domestic and international results together, Jurassic World had the #1 worldwide opening of all time with $512 million,” Wells Fargo Securities’ Marci Ryvicker says. “And to think, last year there was talk of the film industry’s demise, yet halfway through 2015 we have two releases in the top 5 of all time global gross receipts (Furious 7 and Avengers: Age of Ultron), with Jurassic World likely making a run at the top as well.”
Wunderlich Securities’ Matthew Harrigan says the weekend shows that “exhibitors remain in the catbird’s seat in maximizing global film economics for the studios, with huge weekly and quarterly volatility masking relatively predictable annual results that depend more on film quality than on the global economy,”
The movie “could reach the $450-$500 million range and become the #1 2015 grossing release,” he says.
Jurassic lifted overall domestic box office sales for Q2 to +4.6% vs the same period last year; last week the quarter-to-date tally was just up 1.2%. The Jurassic jolt suggests the quarter will end up +5% to +7%. “This outlook would be below our 10% forecast but in line to slightly below the consensus forecast of 7% growth,” MKM Partners’ Eric Handler says.
Several analysts were especially impressed by the sales at Imax and RealD 3D venues. Imax accounted for $20.6 million of Jurassic’s domestic opening weekend. That’s a new high, topping the $19 million from The Dark Knight Rises in 2012. AMC, which has a high concentration of Imax venues, “is on-track to over-index compared to the industry’s growth this quarter,” B. Riley’s Eric Wold says.
RealD screens also stood out. They contributed $71 million — beating the $70 million record from The Avengers in 2012. That’s “another strong indication that moviegoers want excellent 3D experiences and the studios are providing the best 3D offerings in years…maybe ever,” says RealD Worldwide Cinema President Anthony Marcoly.