Nation's top exhib cites strong B.O., close eye on costs

Regal Entertainment Group, the nation’s largest exhibitor, swung to a profit of $46 million from a $24-million loss the year before, thanks to robust B.O. and the chain’s close eye on costs.

Revenue for the three months ended in March rose to $685 million from $571 million.

“We are pleased that a strong film slate combined with our continued focus on cost control allowed us to achieve our highest ever first quarter,” said CEO Amy Miles. “We are excited about the upcoming summer movie season that kicks off with Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’ and remain optimistic about the potential for box office success for the remainder of 2012,” she added.

Regal’s circuit, including Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theaters and Edwards Theaters, operates 6,587 screens in 523 theaters in 37 states and the District of Columbia.

Admissions revenue rose to $474 million from $394 million. Attendance grew to 53.7 million from 46.3 million in the year-ago quarter, while ticket prices averaged $8.83, from $8.52.

Concession sales jumped to $180 million from $151 million.

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