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IMAX CEO to Cramer: China is opportunity, not risk

Now that we have entered August and the bulk of Hollywood's summer blockbuster season has passed, Jim Cramer thought this would be the perfect time to check in with IMAX Corporation.

IMAX is the company behind the ultra-big-screen format where many people love to see the loudest and most explosive movies. IMAX screens are now located in more than 950 theaters across 65 different countries, and more than 400 theaters are on a waiting list to install an IMAX screen.

Cramer last spoke with IMAX in June 2013, and since then, the stock has had a 40 percent gain. However, IMAX hit a wall a month and a half ago, and Cramer wondered if this was in part due to the new weakness in China, as it seems to be a growing portion of its business.

Currently, IMAX has 239 theaters in China, and company plans to take its IMAX China business public on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

"I think this Chinese exposure is the reason why IMAX is now six points off its highs, especially as the U.S. movie box office has been incredibly strong during this period," Cramer said.





Richard Gelfond, CEO, IMAX
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
Richard Gelfond, CEO, IMAX
"I think people are distracted. I think China is an opportunity much more so than it is a risk" -Rich Gelfond, IMAX Corporation CEO

So, should investors be concerned about the company's Chinese exposure, or is the stock just trading at a bargain here? To find out, Cramer spoke with IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond.

The CEO commented on the rapid transformation his business has taken over the years, explaining that it is more of an ecosystem than it is just a way to watch movies. Years ago, the company had to beg studios and filmmakers to release their films on IMAX.

Since that time they have increased the box office, brought in incremental audiences and brought in more publicity surrounding some of the biggest blockbuster movies. For instance, it recently turned the Vienna Oprah House into an IMAX theater for the world premiere of "Mission Impossible 5."

However, Cramer feared that all of the positivity may not be translating into the stock performance, noting that it trades almost one-for-one with the Shanghai stock exchange.

Gelfond pointed out that the IPO for IMAX is on the Hong Kong stock exchange, not the Shanghai stock exchange. The highs of Hong Kong have not been as high as Shanghai, nor have the lows. Thus, it is not a proper comparison.

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"I think people are distracted. I think China is an opportunity much more so than it is a risk," Gelfond said. (Tweet This)

Gelfond explained that IMAX began rolling out its business in China about 15 years ago. At that time, some of his largest shareholders from hedge funds advised him that China would make the company less valuable.

However, Gelfond pursued the Chinese market anyway and in his perspective it has helped its positioning and stock price over the year.

"I think we are just caught in a short-term trading pattern, and, over time, I think the underlying value is there one way or the other," the CEO added.

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