IMAX could be the big winner for investors after a record pandemic opening weekend for ‘Godzilla V.s Kong at the global box office.
Who would have thought that an investment thesis could be based on a 300-foot tall lizard and his sparring partner, the 158-ton monkey?
Ok, maybe an investment thesis might be a stretch, but there’s certainly some information to be found…
Monkey v.s. Lizard money-making?
Hollywood’s latest CGI boom-boom fest, ‘Godzilla V.s. Kong’, managed to outpace 2018’s ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ in its first five days, raking in $48.5 million domestically. Add that to the $235 million rest-of-world pile — sans key markets such as Japan, Brazil, and much of Western Europe — and you’ve got a real success story on your hands.
And while everyone’s second-choice short-squeeze AMC could be a massive beneficiary of this film’s success, it is IMAX (NYSE: IMAX) that could really come out smelling the cheddar.
IMAX reported that more than 1,000 showings sold out at its cinemas, with chief executive Rich Gelfond calling the movie a “symbol of the enduring strength of the theatrical experience for blockbuster filmmaking”. Its $32 million opening weekend haul in the U.S. — roughly double that of ‘Wonder Woman: 1984’, which previously had the biggest opening of the pandemic.
And, despite capacity limitations of up to 25% in North America, IMAX screens accounted for 9.3% of the overall weekend box office domestically, generating $28 million across all markets for the film since its March 26 release. In fact, ‘Godzilla V.s. Kong’ was IMAX’s best domestic opening since January 2020.
So what does this mean? Let’s not jump the gun and say that cinema is back, but while this movie won’t likely be winning any Oscars in 2022, it shows the strength that cinema still has, and as smaller chains begin to drop off, the big players such as IMAX can lap up the market share left behind. And this weekend has proven that it’s more than capable of putting butt’s in seats when it matters.
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