Regal And Imax Q2 Reports Fall Short Of Wall Street Expectations

Exhibition stocks may remain in Wall Street’s dog house following Q2 reports tonight from Regal Entertainment and Imax that fell short of analyst expectations — which most lowered over the last few weeks.

Regal’s net income at $23.6 million was down nearly 30% vs the period last year on revenues of $764.2 million, down 2.8%.  Analysts expected a hair more from the top line: $764.3 million. But earnings at 16 cents a share missed predictions for 18 cents.

Attendance fell 7.4% to 47.4 million, slightly offset by a 2.8% increase in the average ticket outlay to $10.24. The average patron paid $4.88 for concessions, up 6.1%.

Regal announced a 22 cents a share dividend, and says it will continue to pay one “for the foreseeable future.”

“With year-to-date industry box office revenue in line with last year’s record total and an exciting film slate yet to come in the back half of the year,  we remain optimistic regarding potential for box office success in 2017,” CEO Amy Miles says.

At Imax global box office sales increased 3.1% to $268.9 million. But they fell 11.3% on a per-screen basis to $237,800 per screen. Domestically, total box office fell 3.3% to $85.9 million, with per screen falling 4.2% to $216,300.

Overall, Imax ended the quarter with a $1.7 million loss, down from a $6.0 million profit last year, including a $10.3 million charge for its recent layoffs and restructuring. Revenues at $87.8 million were down 4.3%. Analysts expected revenues to hit $89.3 million.

“While several films in the second quarter underperformed our expectations, the recent release of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk emphasizes the value in viewing our business as a portfolio of films,” CEO Richard Gelfond says.

Investors have been anxious about the Q2 reports. Most analysts had to drop their industrywide box office estimates for the quarter after releases including King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword, Smurfs: The Lost Village, Baywatch, The Mummy, and Transformers: The Last Knight generated disappointing domestic sales.

Total domestic box office fell 3.5% in the quarter — and, with an uptick in the number of screens, possibly -4.5% on a per screen basis.

In addition to the weaker than expected results, investors fear that studios will begin to offer new releases to home viewers on demand within the 90 day period when theaters usually have them exclusively.

Regal shares have lost nearly 13% of their value over the last six months.

Imax is down close to 34%. Some investors believe that its sales will suffer as theater owners install recliner seats in additional venues.  Movie-goers might prefer to relax in front of a conventional screen rather than sit in a regular seat to watch a large screen.

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