The reports of the decline of movies theaters have been greatly exaggerated, Cramer told viewers on Friday. With mega-hits like Avatar, film fans are flooding back to the box office for an experience that they just can’t get at home: 3-D.
Cramer thinks 3-D, which he called “the next great leap forward for the movie industry,” is worthy of some speculation. Especially when you consider that, rather than the fad it once was (Jaws 3-D, anyone?), this entertainment technology recently has been driving numbers for key companies in the group.
Just look at Dolby’s great quarter and IMAX’s upward trajectory, not to mention the latter’s joint venture withDiscovery Communications and Sony to launch new 3-D television channels. There seems to be plenty of growth just lying in wait, and Cramer thinks you can trade it. In fact, he likened the trend to his favored “mobile Internet tsunami,” calling this one a “3-D typhoon.”
So who’s his pick? Cinemark Holdings , the third-largest movie theater operator in the US. Cramer thinks CNK offers a more straightforward play than, say, a movie studio or related tech stock and carries less downside: 3-D pics cost more per ticket, draw more people, and, again, give film buffs a reason to shun their DVD players. And 3-D provides an added boost to an otherwise healthy movie business right now.
This is an as yet untapped market, too. The worldwide dollar potential for 3-D is $20 billion, Cramer said. And by 2015, 3-D US box-office receipts should total $9.4 billion, more than half of all US ticket sales combined that year, up from just $1 billion in 2009. The overseas market will play a role as well, but will take longer to roll out. That’s why Cramer said he likes this domestic operator over other names.
Cinemark is the industry leader in stadium seating, besting rivals Regal and AMC Entertainment. The company also provides an IMAX alternative called Extreme Digital Camera, or XD, for an immersive screening experience. Granted, IMAX is suing CNK over patent issues, but Cinemark is pushing forward with new builds nonetheless. There are only 15 of these XD theaters so far, meaning the growth potential is substantial.
Another great thing about Cinemark to keep in mind is its Latin America exposure. The company operates 1,011 screens in 12 countries there and is the number-one theater chain in Brazil. Cramer loves that.
As for the stock itself, Cramer also loves the 5% dividend yield. And CNK is cheap, trading at just 15.6 times earnings despite its historical multiple of 20. Factor in the decent balance sheet, and he’s willing to recommend speculating on Cinemark even though it’s very near to its 52-week high.
But the regular rules apply, of course. Buy in small increments, use limit orders, and take your time.
“This is a long-term theme,” Cramer said. “There is absolutely no reason to jump all over the stock.”
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