Cineplex Odeon Corp.’s fortunes could be dramatically boosted by this summer’s lineup.
Allen Karp, president and chief executive of the theater chain, told the annual meeting Thursday that he expects its debt level to fall to $ 385 million, or 9.1%, by the end of this year from $ 419 million at the end of the first quarter.
Karp said this would leave the company with a debt-to-equity ratio of about 1 .9:1. The exec said the company plans to reduce its debt levels to $ 250 million by the end of 1996.
Karp told the meeting that the company is continuing to cut its costs through measures such as converting theater leaseholds to freeholds,thereby reducing its annual occupancy costs.
But Karp said that most of any further improvement in the company’s financial performance will be due to higher revenues. He said Cinpelex is starting to see the effect of the economic recovery on attendance levels, and noted that a strong lineup of summer releases should boost revenues further.
For example, he said that if “Jurassic Park” grosses $ 200 million, as expected, Cineplex should receive about $ 30 million in admissions revenue as well as $ 12 million from concession sales.
Record B.O. possible
Referring to “Jurassic Park” and “Last Action Hero,” Karp said this summer has the potential to set box-office records.
He noted that, once revenues have covered Cineplex’s costs, the company has “terrific leverage” to rising revenues.
He also said that, although Cineplex is spending money to open 21 new screens this year, the payback on the investment will be very rapid.