Profile: IMAX Corp (IMAX.N)
24 Oct 2014
IMAX Corporation, incorporated on January 1, 2002, together with its wholly owned subsidiaries, is an entertainment technology companies, specializing in motion picture technologies and presentations. The Company’s customers who purchase lease or otherwise acquire the IMAX theatre systems are theatre exhibitors, which operate commercial theatres, museums, science centers, and destination entertainment sites. IMAX theatre systems combine the Company’s digital re-mastering movie conversion technology (IMAX DMR), projectors with equipment and automated theatre control systems, sound system components, screens, theatre geometry, and theatre acoustics.
The Company’s principal business is the design, manufacture and delivery of theater systems (IMAX theater systems). The Company’s customers who purchase, lease or otherwise acquire the IMAX theater systems through joint revenue sharing arrangements are theater exhibitors that operate commercial theaters (particularly multiplexes), museums, science centers, or destination entertainment sites. The Company does not own IMAX theaters, but licenses the use of its trademarks along with the sale, lease or contribution of the IMAX theater system.
IMAX Systems, Theater System Maintenance and Joint Revenue Sharing Arrangements
The Company provides IMAX theater systems to customers on a sales or long-term lease basis with an initial 10-year term. These agreements consist of initial fees and ongoing fees (which can include a fixed minimum amount per annum and contingent fees in excess of the minimum payments) and maintenance and extended warranty fees. The initial fees vary depending on the system configuration and location of the theater and generally are paid to the Company in installments between the time of system signing and the time of system installation. Ongoing fees are paid over the term of the contract, commencing after the theater system has been installed and are generally equal to the greater of a fixed minimum amount per annum or a percentage of boxoffice receipts. The Company also provides IMAX theater systems to customers under joint revenue sharing arrangements, pursuant to which the Company provides the IMAX theater system in return for a portion of the customer’s IMAX box-office receipts, and in some cases concession revenues and/or a small upfront or initial payment. As at December 31, 2012, the Company had 316 theaters in operation under joint revenue sharing arrangements.
Production and Digital Re-Mastering (IMAX DMR)
The Company’s technology digitally re-masters Hollywood films into IMAX digital cinema package format or 15/70-format film. IMAX DMR digitally enhances the image resolution of motion picture films for projection on IMAX screens while maintaining or enhancing the visual clarity and sound quality to levels for which The IMAX Experience is known. This technology enabled the IMAX theater network to release Hollywood films simultaneously with domestic release. In a typical IMAX DMR film arrangement, the Company will receive a percentage of net box-office receipts of any commercial films released in the IMAX network, which is generally 10-15%, from a film studio for the conversion of the film to the IMAX DMR format and access to its distribution platform. During the year ended December 31, 2012, 35 films converted through the IMAX DMR process were released to theaters within the IMAX network. As of December 31, 2012, the Company released 23 IMAX DMR titles to theaters within the IMAX network. During 2012, five local language IMAX DMR films were released, including one French film, Houba! On the Trail of the Marsupilami: The IMAX Experience and four Chinese IMAX DMR titles: Tai Chi 0: An IMAX 3D Experience, Tai Chi Hero: An IMAX 3D Experience, Back to 1942: The IMAX Experience and CZ12: The IMAX Experience.
Film Distribution and Post-Production
The Company is also a distributor of large-format films, primarily catering to its institutional theater partners. The Company generally distributes films, which it produces or for which it has acquired distribution rights from independent producers. The Company generally receives a percentage of the theater box-office receipts as a distribution fee. Films produced by the Company are typically financed through third parties, whereby the Company will generally receive a film production fee in exchange for producing the film and a distribution fee for distributing the film. The Company utilizes third-party funding for the majority of original films it produces and distributes. In 2012, the Company, along with Warner Bros. Pictures (WB) and MacGillivray Freeman Films (MFF) released an original title, To the Artic 3D: An IMAX 3D Experience.
The Company derives a small portion of its revenues from other sources. As of December 31, 2012, the Company had four owned and operated theaters. In addition, the Company has a commercial arrangement with one theater resulting in the sharing of profits and losses and provides management services to two theaters. The Company also rents its two dimensional (2D) and three dimensional (3D) large-format film and digital cameras to third party production companies. The Company maintains cameras and other film equipment and also offers production advice and technical assistance to both documentary and Hollywood filmmakers. Additionally, the Company generates revenues from the sale of after-market parts and 3D glasses. As of December 31, 2012, approximately 54.2% of IMAX systems in operation were located in the United States and Canada. As at December 31, 2012, approximately 45.8% of IMAX systems in operation were located within international markets (other than the United States and Canada).
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