IMAX Looks for Blockbuster Results in 2015

will be a key experiment for IMAX. Source: HBO.

Game of Thrones

Yet one of the most fascinating opportunities for IMAX will come from an area that has traditionally been antithetical to movie success: the television industry. In January, IMAX announced that it would team up with HBO to screen two episodes from the fourth season of Game of Thrones , along with a preview for the fifth season. In fact, IMAX ended up delaying the screening in order to get a larger number of its operators on board, eventually showing the series in about 200 theaters. By catering to fans of particular shows, IMAX could lure viewers out of their homes , potentially introducing a whole new distribution channel that could reawaken greater interest in movie theaters.

Source: AMC.

Still, IMAX will rely to some extent on the ingenuity of theater operators seeking to broaden their audiences once again. For instance, AMC Entertainment is looking at introducing a subscription service that would allow moviegoers to see a set number of showings per month, and if that raises interest in the IMAX big-screen format, then you could see AMC and other companies looking to bolster their infrastructure in order to handle what they hope will be higher overall demand.

Meanwhile, IMAX has to face the fact that 2014 was a disappointing year for theaters in general. The summer in particular was a huge letdown from record-breaking revenue in 2013, with box office figures at their worst levels since 2006. For the full year, early figures show revenue off 5%, the worst showing in three years. Without a growing demand for movies, IMAX will have trouble sustaining any domestic growth.

In the IMAX earnings report, look at how well the international expansion plans are going. The company has done an excellent job of expanding its global footprint, and if sales are better abroad, it could be a testament to IMAX's staying power. Yet with potential currency headwinds, shareholders should temper their enthusiasm for global growth. More importantly, if IMAX details its plans for 2015, listen closely for a strategy that makes sense and is likely to succeed.

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