Exhib's profits up to $6.9 mil

HOLLYWOOD — Hot movies propelled exhib Cinemark to a $6.9 million profit in the first quarter amid a 15% revenue rise to $226.7 million, officials said Wednesday.

Dallas-based chain posted a loss of $2.7 million in the same period a year ago. But Cinemark has been one of the healthier exhib circuits over the past two turbulent industry years.

Observers speculate Cinemark may grow through a major acquisition at some point, funding such a move by going public. Company execs acknowledge that they are mulling a public flotation after seeing the recent market success of rival Regal Entertainment.

Chain operates 3,014 screens in the U.S., Canada and 12 other counties.

“We are excited about the success of the box office (reflected) in our first-quarter results,” CEO Lee Roy Mitchell said. First-quarter hits included New Line’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” and “John Q.” and Sony/Revolution’s “Black Hawk Down.”

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