IMAX China has reported a 13% drop in profits year-on-year, which it says is primarily a reflection of weaker box office in the Middle Kingdom coupled with the company’s installation of a record 34 additional theaters.
The company reported adjusted profits of $37.6M, down 13%, for 2016. Revenues, however, were up 7.2% at $118.5M for the year, while gross profit was recorded at $69.3M, or 58.5% of revenues. This comes after the Chinese currency suffered a 7% depreciation against the dollar last year.
Chinese box office in 2016 saw its first slow-down after years of rapid growth. Ticket sales were up just 3.7% year-on-year to $6.6B compared to a near 50% hike in 2015.
IMAX’s own Chinese box office revenue dipped to $295.7M last year, compared to $312.4M in 2015 while while its per screen average sat at $932,400 in 2016 compared to $1.34M the previous year.
“We achieved a number of exciting accomplishments in 2016 that we believe will continue to facilitate meaningful growth in IMAX China for years to come,” said Richard L. Gelfond, Chairman of IMAX China. “The IMAX network reached an astounding 407 commercial screens across 149 cities – with another 334 theaters in backlog.
“In 2016 alone, we expanded the network by more than 40% and saw record-level signings activity, most of which came from existing partners looking to further expand their existing IMAX footprint. This is particularly encouraging as these metrics not only serve as a key barometer for future growth, they also come ahead of what has already been a strong start to the robust 2017 film slate, with hit titles such as Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back and xXx: Return of Xander Cage.”
IMAX China operates 407 commercial screens in the Middle Kingdom, compared with just 290 in 2015.