Regardless of the variety of productions delayed this yr by the coronavirus pandemic, Imax CEO Richard Gelfond on CNBC Monday mentioned the brand new yr may show to be profitable for his firm.
Whereas studios paused tapings, movie releases have been additionally delayed as film theaters closed throughout the nation in response to the Covid-19 outbreak earlier this yr. Gelfond expects to recoup at the very least among the income that was missed out on in 2020, ought to optimistic forecasts for holding the worldwide well being disaster play out as hoped, giving Imax a lift as film lovers hunt down immersive leisure that they cannot get at dwelling.
“In a approach, 2021, if issues do open early within the yr, it is a humiliation of riches,” he mentioned in a “Closing Bell” interview. “There’s an terrible lot of content material, and that is true on a worldwide foundation.”
Among the extremely anticipated movies that Gelfond is banking on to be launched subsequent yr embody “High Gun: Maverick,” “Black Widow” and “Quick & Livid 9.” Every of their deliberate 2020 releases have been pushed again to 2021. Imax additionally has publicity to international field workplaces with areas in 82 nations, the place different movies are additionally on backlog, Gelfond mentioned. North America makes up one-third of Imax’s international enterprise.
In 2019, Imax recorded its best-grossing yr with $1.035 billion in box-office gross sales. It was the second straight yr the corporate introduced in additional than $1 billion in whole receipts. That streak was damaged in 2020.
Imax income reached $395.7 million in 2019 after three straight years of about $370 million or extra. Income has suffered vastly prior to now three quarters, down 70% from the identical nine-month interval final yr.
“Happily, there is a huge backlog of flicks that exist already,” Gelfond mentioned.
As vaccine campaigns across the globe get underway and well being consultants plot potential reopening timelines, corporations are mapping out after they count on to see enterprise rebound to pre-pandemic ranges.
Gelfond is projecting enterprise at Imax theaters to start to enhance by summer season with the launch of “High Gun: Maverick,” starring Tom Cruise and Jennifer Connelly.
“I believe by you then’ll begin to strategy 100% ranges after which definitely by the fourth quarter it will be utterly open,” he mentioned. Given the optimism that the U.S. financial system will bounce again shortly after the nation reaches preferrred immunity ranges, “I believe it is extremely possible that by the second quarter issues are going to begin to open up right here.”
Shares of Imax rose 4% on Monday, closing at $17.70. The inventory is down 13% yr to this point.