Theater chain exhibs six-fold gain in 3rd Q

HOLLYWOOD — Exhib giant Regal Entertainment Group posted a six-fold increase in third-quarter profit to $36 million on Monday.

Shares in the Denver-based company rose 63¢, or 3%, to $21 after Regal released its better-than-expected results.

Regal’s nearly 5,900 screens were amassed in a buying blitzkrieg by entertainment entrepreneur Philip Anschutz last year. In a pro forma comparison that assumes all of those acquisitions were in place a year ago, Regal reported a 3% uptick in revenue in the third quarter.

Admissions revenue rose 1% to $387.1 million. Concession sales jumped 5% to $158.5 million.

Regal co-CEO Mike Campbell said it was heartening that gains were made despite “minimal industry box office growth” during the period.

Separately Monday, Regal announced that its Regal CineMedia unit had struck a pact with NBC to provide “pre-show” entertainment to Regal theaters. Regal CineMedia is currently installing digital equipment at theaters nationwide to allow the distribution of onscreen ads to individual locations as well as the occasional offering of non-movie programming such as sporting events and music concerts.

Under the arrangement with NBC, net will provide “original, short-form entertainment programming to be presented on theater screens prior to the feature presentation exclusively in (Regal) theaters.” NBC will also advertise on in-lobby plasma screens that Regal is currently installing in many of its theaters.

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