NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Based on blockbuster runs for "Jurassic World," "Furious 7" and "Avengers: Age of Ultron" among other films, Piper Jaffray analyst James Marsh raised the firm's forecast for 2015 domestic box office growth to 5.2% from 4.9% and upped his estimate for domestic box office grosses to $10.9B from $10.8B. The analyst also upgraded his rating on large format theater technology company IMAX (IMAX - Get Report), citing the projected box office record for 2015, along with a recent slide in its shares.
WHAT'S NEW: For the weekend of July 12, Comcast (CMCSA), (CMCSK) subsidiary Universal's "Minions" topped domestic box office charts at $115.2M. Universal's "Jurassic World" landed in second place with $18.1M, while Disney's (DIS - Get Report) "Inside Out" came in third with $17.1M. Viacom (VIA - Get Report), (VIAB - Get Report) subsidiary Paramount's "Terminator Genisys" and Time Warner (TWX) subsidiary Warner Bros.' "Gallows" took fourth and fifth place, according to data reported by Rentrak (RENT).
IMAX: Piper Jaffray's Marsh said the recent pullback in IMAX shares has presented a buying opportunity, as he believes the initial public offering of its China unit remains on track despite the country's recent market volatility. The analyst also cited box office upside in raising his price target for IMAX to $41 from $33.
WHAT'S NOTABLE: Following Universal's record domestic opening weekend for "Jurassic World" last month, JPMorgan analyst Townsend Buckles commented that IMAX was "clearly resonating with consumers globally," noting its "solid" 7.6% share of the "Jurassic World" global open. The analyst said then that domestic second quarter box office numbers were "back on track," with quarter-to-date receipts up 4.6% and easier comps for the summer period. Buckles said he expected theater stocks such as AMC (AMC - Get Report), Carmike (CKEC), Cinemark (CNK - Get Report), and Regal (RGC) to rise after the strong weekend. Regarding fears of a Justice Department investigation into exclusive film zones, the analyst added that Regal and Cinemark are likely to be least affected.
PRICE ACTION: In early trading, IMAX rose 2.8% to $37.47. Over the last month, the stock is down nearly 12% even accounting for today's early advance.
Reporting by Jason Keil.