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Audiences down at Kinepolis

Multiplex reports 2.7% drop

BRUSSELS — The Kinepolis multiplex chain has reported a 2.7% drop in visitors to its theaters in Belgium, France, Spain and Switzerland.

Turnstiles clicked 10,679,611 times in the first half of 2007 compared to 10,392,475 times in the first six months of 2008.

“Compared to the international cinema market, however, this is a creditable performance,” the group said Wednesday. “In France and Spain Kinepolis did better than the cinema market; in Belgium the fall in visitor numbers is in line with the market.”

After a strong first quarter, fine weather in May and June plus the economic downturn in Europe drove audiences away, the group said.

It also blamed the Euro 2008 soccer championship for distracting filmgoers. However, 10,000 Spanish fans and 3,000 French fans turned out for bigscreen matches unspooled at Kinepolis theaters.

Strongest results came from “Welcome to the Sticks,” “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” and “Asterix and Obelix at the Olympics.”

The Hollywood offer so far in 2008 is described as “not in the same class” as the top films of 2007.

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