Imax shares push higher on strong 'Avatar' sales

AP News
Posted: Jan 05, 2010 11:34 AM

Shares of Imax Corp. rose Tuesday, lifted by strong box-office sales of the popular science fiction thriller "Avatar."

The stock hit a 52-week high of $13.92 in morning trading before settling back by midday to $13.74, up 43 cents, or 3.2 percent, from Monday's close.

"Avatar," now in its third week in theaters, has pulled in about $67 million on jumbo Imax screens worldwide, according to company figures released after the market close Monday.

Imax, which is based in Mississauga, Ontario, said the film sold a record $8.7 million worth of tickets in the U.S. during the weekend of Jan. 1-3.

In a note to investors, Morgan Joseph analyst Jeffrey Blaeser estimated the film made Imax about $54 million in revenue during its fourth quarter, exceeding his expectations.

He raised his projections for the company's financial results to earnings of 10 cents per share on sales of $46.1 million, up from a previous estimate of 8 cents per share on $42.4 million.

On average, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect earnings of 7 cents per share on sales of $41.2 million.