AMC’s back in black

No formal Cinemark bid placed yet

HOLLYWOOD — Strong box office over the holiday season helped AMC Entertainment return to the black for its fiscal third quarter, with its $644,000 profit comparing to a $4.9 million loss in the year-earlier period.

Revenue rose 10% to $471.6 million in the 13-week period ended Jan. 1. Hit movies during the span included a pair of New Line releases, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” and “Elf.”

“Strong film product, combined with AMC’s brand and asset quality, produced outstanding results for the quarter,” said AMC chairman-CEO Peter Brown. “We were also pleased with our acquisition of three MegaStar theater complexes during the quarter.”

In a conference call, Brown said recently terminated talks regarding a much more ambitious transaction — a proposed merger with rival circuit Loews Cineplex — collapsed because the parties could not agree on terms. And so far, AMC hasn’t placed a formal bid for the Cinemark circuit, which was recently placed on the sales block, Brown said.

AMC currently operates 233 theaters with 3,549 screens in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Spain, France, Hong Kong and Japan.

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