Growing Clearview posts loss

But revenues increase 134% for 169-screen chain

Clearview Cinema Group Inc. reported wider losses on much higher revenues for the quarter and year ended Dec. 31, as the Chatham, N.J.-based consolidator and operator of movie theaters continued its blistering expansion pace.

For the fourth quarter, the net loss of $313,782 compared with a loss of $85,397 in the year-earlier quarter, while revenues increased 134% to $6.63 million. For the year, the net loss of $1.33 million compared with a net loss of $218,328 in the previous year, while revenues increased 111% to $17.26 million. Theater level cash flow — a key measure designed to capture revenues after rental, booking, operating and concession costs — rose 182% to $1.62 million for the quarter and 142% to $3.87 million for the year.

By year-end, Clearview had increased its circuit to 148 screens in 31 theaters, all in the tri-state area, after starting with eight screens in four theaters in December 1994. Recent additions, including a Brooklyn five-plex that marked Clearview’s entry into New York City, have since increased that mix to 169 screens in 37 theaters.

In commenting on the results via teleconference, Clearview chairman and CEO A. Dale Mayo said the company, which went public last August, had the industry’s lowest film rental costs as a percentage of box office. He also expressed confidence in the company’s concept of leaving the teen audience to mall multiplex operators and appealing, instead, to older filmgoers and their families with more elegant, secure and comfortable viewing environments.

“What we’ve known intuitively is now in black and white,” Mayo said after citing an American Demographics study that, for the years between 1996 and 2000 projects double-digit percentage increases in film attendance by consumers aged between 45 and 64.

Mayo, who predicted “major growth over the next two years,” said much of that growth would be financed by “a large debt financing” slated to take place between 30 and 60 days.

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