Will Amazon And Imax Be Big Winners From New James Bond Movie?

Includes: AMZN, IMAX, SNE
by: Chris Katje

The newest James Bond movie "Skyfall" is currently being shot for its release in U.S. theaters November 9. The movie, which will be put out by Columbia Pictures and MGM, is likely to benefit the two movie studios as well as movie theaters around the world. Sony (NYSE:SNE) owns Columbia Pictures, but it represents a small portion of its overall business so it should have a minimal impact. Two other big winners from the movie and James Bond franchise are profiled below.


Author Ian Fleming created the James Bond character back in 1953. Fleming wrote 12 books featuring James Bond and two short stories before his death in 1964. Since Fleming's death, several other writers have written books about the James Bond character.

Amazon's Thomas & Mercer unit will publish all the James Bond books in the United States starting in the summer. The deal also gave Amazon the e-book rights to produce the books for Amazon's bestselling Kindle. The Amazon deal is for 14 James Bond titles. The new "Skyfall" movie is not based on a book but will help spur demand for the previous titles, which had been hard to find in the American book markets. The 10-year deal in the United States will be exclusive to Amazon.

It is unknown how much cash Amazon had to pay to the Fleming family estate to get the rights to the books. The deal is a good way for Amazon to maintain its dominance in the e-books market. Scholastic (NASDAQ:SCHL) found out all too quickly how important the digital rights for a book series could be. Harry Potter J.K. Rowling maintained the rights to the series for electronic distribution. The move paid off for her as the books took in $1.5 million in their first three days on the market.

Amazon shares are trading at $189.98 as of Friday's market close. Shares will be traded heavily this week as the leading online retailer reports first-quarter earnings Thursday April 22. As I mentioned before Amazon is getting involved in sales of every item thinkable to consumers. Shares are trading well off of their 52-week high price of $246.71. In order to invest in Amazon, you would have to put aside the triple-digit price to earnings and focus on the company being number one in many areas of retail. Shares are expensive at this level in my opinion.

Recommendation: Hold


Imax recently announced that "Skyfall" will be hitting its screens around the world. The movie marks the first in the James Bond series to be featured on Imax screens. The movie will be released in the United States on November 9, on Imax screens and internationally in October with the international release date.

There are rumors that "Skyfall" could come to Imax theaters the same date as their international counterparts. This would give the latest James Bond movie a head start of exclusive time in Imax theaters, which could benefit the company greatly. This was a move the company tried with a successful early launch of "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol."

Imax continues to add movies to its already heavy 2012 lineup. Recent additions were "The Avengers," "The Hunger Games," "Battleship," "Frankenweenie," and now "Skyfall." The success of "The Hunger Games" and "Titanic 3D" should be shown in Imax's next earnings report. "Gravity," starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, will be shown on Imax screens starting November 21st. "The Hunger Games" returned to Imax screens for an additional week, which shows off the company's tremendous ability to capture additional revenue whenever it can.

Shares trade at $23.12 and are well off of their 52-week high of $38.00. Imax shares are one of my top 10 picks for 2012. The stock was up 33.33% in the first three months of the year, but as a shareholder I believe there is lots of upside left. The upside comes from a growing international base of theaters and the company's amazing 2012 lineup. Look for shares to hit $40 by the end of the year.

Recommendation: Buy

The Movie

The new "Skyfall" movie comes out on November 9, and will go up against "Anna Karenin," starring Keira Knightley and Jude Law. The last James Bond movie "Quantum of Solace" opened against limited releases and foreign movies. "Anna Karenina" is an adaptation off a Leo Tolstoy novel by the same name and will likely make $10 million or less its opening weekend. Holdovers from the week before include "Red Dawn," "The Guilt Trip," and "Wreck-it Ralph." The key thing to remember is "Breaking Dawn Part 2" opens the following weekend so "Skyfall" will likely only lead the box office for one weekend and will need to capitalize the theater counts it has for its premiere.

James Bond celebrates 50 years in 2012 and is rumored to be making a scheduled appearance at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England. Daniel Craig was personally invited by the Queen to help open the Olympics. Craig will be in character and take on a new mission to open the games. The short video and liver performance will be directed by Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire"). Whether the opening ceremonies feature James Bond will be seen, as some are reporting this as a cruel April Fool's joke to fans of the series.

The James Bond movies have improved both theater counts and box office revenue throughout the 2000s. The last release "Quantum of Solace" was shown on 3,501 theater screens (compared with "Casino Royale's" 3,443). The movie took in $67.5 million during its opening weekend before clearing a domestic total of $168.4 million.

Look for the movie to be shown on 4,000 screens and hit the $70 million mark during its opening weekend for the first time in James Bond history.

Disclosure: I am long IMAX.

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