Revenue increased to $261 million

Cineplex Entertainment, Canada’s leading exhibitor, posted its best-ever financial results in the third quarter, driven by boffo box office at its cinemas.

Revenue increased to C$244 million ($261 million), up 22.6% from $213 million in the same quarter last year. Net earnings jumped 166% to $26 million from $10 million. Attendance in the quarter was up 245 to 19.1 million from 15.4 million.

Cineplex Entertainment CEO Ellis Jacob said the huge upswing in revenue and earnings was driven by the strong perf of the pics in the quarter, aided by the Toronto-based company’s efforts to increase the frequency of moviegoing via initiatives like the discount-ticket strategy “Big Ticket Tuesday.”

Box office in the three months ended Sept. 30 was $161 million, up 21% from a year earlier. Overall Canadian B.O. was up only 16.5% in the quarter, according to the Motion Picture Theater Assns. of Canada.

The extra increase for Cineplex was due to both increased sales at its already existing cinemas and the perf of newly acquired and newly built cinemas. Pics that performed well in the quarter included “Transformers,” “Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix,” “Ratatouille” and “The Simpsons Movie.”

Concessions revenue increased 25% from the same quarter last year to $77 million. Film costs increased $16 million to reach $86 million, while the cost of concessions increased $3.8 million to $16 million.

Cineplex Galaxy Income Trust owns 76% of Cineplex Entertainment, while Toronto-based firm Onex holds 22% of the equity.

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