Weak summer pics sent profits plummeting
Philip Anschutz’s Regal Entertainment offset what could have been a substantial drop in box office revenue this summer through the addition of new screens. But weak tentpoles still sent profits plummeting.Screens from two recent acquisitions helped revenue inch up 2.8% to $628 million. Company bought North Carolina-based exhib Eastern Federal and California’s Signature within the last year. Acquisitions increased total screens by 574, or about 8%, at the Knoxville, Tenn.-based exhib, the nation’s largest. But net income slumped 38% from the summer of 2004, to $17 million, as summer pics such as “War of the Worlds” faltered compared to ’04 blockbusters such as “Spider-Man 2.” Profit fell a bit short of Wall Street’s expectations. Regal, one of only two publicly traded theater companies, saw its stock dip 2.49% to $18.78 Thursday. Overall concession revenue increased 6.5% to $165 million. Higher ticket prices also boosted coin. Average cost of a ticket increased 4.2% at the exhib compared to a year earlier. Regal operates 6,537 screens in 40 states. It achieved its bulk by buying up United Artists and Edwards Theaters during a period of massive consolidation in the exhibition biz in the late 1990s.