Giant-movie-screen company IMAX has been on a tear lately, earning record revenues from The Dark Knight and Monsters vs. Aliens, and getting ready to show a record 11 films this year in its giant-screen theatres.
You’d think its co-CEOs would have done better than to make less than half of what they raked in during 2007.
Richard Gelfond and Bradley Wechsler made $834,602 and $894,089 in 2008, according to IMAX’s most recent proxy filing, down from roughly $3.2 million and $2 million in 2007. In 2007, a chunk of their pay was from one-time option and stock awards as well as changes in their pension values, but neither exec saw an increase in their base salary ($500,000) this year, and each received smaller bonuses than in 2007.
IMAX hasn’t turned a profit since 2005, but last year the company made major strides towards profitability, launching its digital technology and putting its projection systems in more theatres, allowing the company to show more movies in 2009 and earn higher revenues from such films. In fact, IMAX is confident it will be profitable in 2009.
It’s strangely admirable in this day and age that IMAX’s CEOs took smaller bonuses in 2008, because IMAX’s loss actually widened, despite the wave of good headlines, from what it was the year before.
The next year should be better. Since April 1, Gelfond has been the sole CEO of the company. Despite the new job, his base salary will remain the same until January 2010, when he gets a $100,000 raise. He did however, get 500,000 stock options with his new position. Meanwhile, Wechsler, who’s now the chairman of the board, will receive $200,000 a year for his service, less than half of his 2008 salary.
IMAX’s future looks bright: if the company completes its digital rollout and shows more movies, it should start seeing substantial profits, particularly if this whole 3-D thing takes off.
But for now, if Gelfond or Wechsler want major paydays, their best option might be to try to get fired. If either had been terminated without cause last year, they each would have received more than $16 million.
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