German exhibitor reports surge in net loss

BERLIN — A drop in overall admissions at the box office last year left a dent in the bottom line of Germany’s leading exhib chain Cinemaxx.

The group saw its annual net loss grow by 64% to E5.1 million ($8.1 million) in 2007, while revenue slipped 3.8% to $255.4 million.

Despite an overall 5.7% drop at the German box office and dwindling ad proceeds, Cinemaxx managed to cushion a more drastic decrease in revenue through a 2.8% boost in concession sales and target-group programming, the company said Tuesday.

Operating profit (before interest and tax) reached $7.2 million, down 34% from 2006.

“The film industry, including Cinemaxx, cannot be satisfied with the development of the market in 2007. Despite a high number of high-profile films, the number of admissions remained below expectations,” the company said in a statement.

The local box office picked up dramatically in December and continued to do well through the first quarter of 2008.

Cinemaxx execs are expecting a better performance this year in view of the overall improvement at the box office so far this year and of a slew of upcoming tentpole pics hitting screens in the coming months.

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