Theaters have been slow to move to digital (only about 20 percent of U.S. theaters are digitally equipped), and that's been a drag on their costs, as it's more expensive to show analogue films. One sticking point has been an inability by the theaters and studios to figure out how to share the expense of the upgrade. IMAX, though, appears to be starting to take a more aggressive approach. In its earnings announcement today IMAX Corporation said it deployed 32 digital systems during the fourth quarter to bring its total to 46. (That included the upgrade of two projectors already in place at some of its theaters.) The company launched its first digital system in Baltimore in August.
In its earnings release, IMAX said fourth-quarter revenue dropped 13 percent to $28.1 million, resulting in $6.4 million in gross profit. The company posted a loss of $9 million, but said it expects to turn a profit in 2009.
By Rory Maher