Last Wednesday saw the opening of one of the most anticipated movies of the summer, "Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen". Through its opening weekend, the sequel to the 2007 blockbuster pulled in over $200 million in North America alone. The film has sent more than a few companies' shares higher and it's possible that even more may follow suit in the coming weeks.
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Paramount, the studio behind "Transformers", has yet another winner on its hands, and Paramount's parent company Viacom (NYSE:VIA.B) saw its shares rise over 6% in the 5 days following the film's opening. The global entertainment powerhouse, which owns both the MTV and BET network brands, has seen its shares jump 65% since early March behind the strength of its brands.
June 28 saw the BET Music Awards pull in close to 11 million viewers, the largest cable audience of the year thus far. And with Paramount already sitting on two summer smashes in Star-Trek and Transformers, with a few more coming down the pipe, the summer looks good for Viacom.
One of those summer blockbusters in waiting is the highly anticipated "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra". While this looks like another big payday for Viacom, another company that stands to see substantial numbers with its release and is already laughing all the way to the bank with the success of the Transformers movie franchise is toy-maker Hasbro (NYSE:HAS). The second largest toy company in the world behind Mattel (NYSE:MAT), Hasbro owns the Transformers brand and has co-produced both feature films. The company has seen its share rise a modest 2% through the weekend.
By owning the hugely popular brand of toys, Hasbro is in line to see revenue numbers for the coming quarters and may well trample analyst estimates of $0.25 EPS. The company is hoping to take advantage of an identical play with the G.I. Joe franchise and if recent history is any indication, the toy giant could be set for a great second half of 2009.
With tens of millions of movie-goers flocking to theatres over the weekend, it's natural that the theatres took in some serious dollars as well. All three big publicly-traded theatre chains saw their shares rise nicely. Carmike Cinemas' (Nasdaq:CKEC) shares rose over 10%, while Regal Entertainment (NYSE:RGC) and Cinemark Holdings (NYSE:CNK) were up 6% and 5% respectively.
The biggest winner though was Imax (Nasdaq:IMAX) which saw its shares sky rocket 19% through the weekend, piggy-backing the success of Transformers. With July just beginning, the theatres are starting to hit their stride as far as summer movies goes, and with potential blockbusters like "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" and "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" on the way, this past weekend's success could be a springboard for theatre stocks.
The Bottom Line
The release of "Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen" had a lot of people excited for the summer; and now the amazing early success of the film has a lot of associated companies excited as well. (For more summer investment ideas, check out our Investopedia Special Feature: Summer Finance.)