Exhib upbeat amid narrowed year, 4Q losses

HOLLYWOOD — Execs predicted 2002 will see industrywide box office gains — excluding price boosts — as exhib AMC Entertainment on Thursday posted narrowed fiscal fourth-quarter and year-end losses amid revenue rises in both periods.

For the latest quarter, Kansas City, Mo.-based company reported $9.6 million in red ink. That compared with a $63.6 million loss in the same period a year earlier.

On an annual basis, AMC saw $11.5 million in red ink through March 28. Company had a $105.9 million loss in the previous fiscal year.

Rev revival

Revenue improved 17% to $339 million in the fiscal fourth quarter and 10% to $1.34 billion over 12 months. Both repped company highs.

“In addition to our record results, fiscal 2002 was a year of many accomplishments for AMC, including three financing transactions that raised over $500 million and the negotiation of two acquisitions that totaled 689 screens,” chairman-CEO Peter Brown said.

AMC operates 3,558 screens in 251 theaters in the U.S., Canada and seven other countries.

In a conference call with analysts and press, chief financial officer Craig Ramsey projected industry box office growth of 6%-8% for the balance of the calendar year.

“We believe average ticket prices for the industry as a whole will average about a 5% increase over last year,” Ramsey estimated. “(So) there could be attendance growth — real growth — between 1% and 3%.”

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