Tough year for IMAX shares, but may have positive future

November 28, 2011 – 1:51 pm

The Motley Fool analyzes IMAX stock and why despite a rough year, IMAX’s future still shows growth:

It’s all about the movies
IMAX thrives on a specific type of action film, and 2010 was a historically good year for IMAX-type movies. You needed to look no further than Avatar for a movie that could make investors smile for the entire year. But 2011 has been the opposite with films like Super 8, Contagion, Real Steel, and Puss in Boots. Outside of Harry Potter and Transformers, the year has been mostly a dud.

But that might be turning around with a few upcoming films. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol opens in IMAX theaters five days before regular theaters and should be just the kind of film the company needs. Next year, we have new editions of Time Warner’s (NYS: TWX) Batman, as well as Sony’s (NYS: SNE) Spider-Man and Men in Black, all movies that are built for IMAX. So as bad as 2011 has been, there may be light at the end of the tunnel.

International is key
IMAX’s international growth is just beginning, with 85 to 90 theaters expected to be open in China by year’s end and a backlog of over 100 more theaters. That’s up from 40 open theaters to end 2010. And international per-screen average box office is 1.9 times what IMAX gets in the U.S., where it still outpaces traditional theaters by a wide margin.

International films are now being released in IMAX as well, another growth avenue for the company. IMAX has had a slower, more measured approach to expansion — unlike RealD (NYS: RLD) in the 3-D arena, which expanded as quickly as possible — but the pace is beginning to pick up, and that should be a positive for investors.

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UPDATE: Latest movements with IMAX stock:

TradersHuddle.com: IMAX Close to Support? | Trading Idea – IMAX Broke Support, What to Expect?

Zacks Investment Research: BEST RELATIVE PERFORMANCE IN THE MOVIES & ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY DETECTED IN SHARES OF IMAX (IMAX, LCAPA, TWX, DIS, NWS) | 10.8% RETURN SEEN TO DATE ON SMARTREND IMAX CALL (IMAX)

Market Intelligence Center: IMAX (IMAX) Showing Bullish Technicals With Resistance At $19.12

LocalizedUSA: Imax Corporation (IMAX) Shares Upgraded to a “Neutral” Rating by Zacks Investment Research Analysts. | Imax Corporation (IMAX) Shares Upgraded to a “Buy” Rating by Stifel Nicolaus Analysts.

The Motley Fool: IMAX Shares Popped: What You Need to Know | Is IMAX’s Stock Expensive or Cheap by the Numbers? | What Happened to the 3-D Dream? | Is IMAX’s Stock Expensive or Cheap by the Numbers?

RTT News: IMAX Corp. (IMAX) Rose To A 4-Month High