Cineworld steady as U.K. auds drop

Co. raised ticket prices by 4% in March

LONDON — U.K. cinema chain Cineworld earned a relatively flat 1.2% growth in box office revenue for the first half of the year, but views that as a success in the face of a 7% decline in U.K. admissions from the same time period last year.  

Cineworld raised ticket prices by 4% in March as a response to the drop in admissions, but a loss had still been predicted for the company’s half-year revs until June brought exceptionally strong profits.

No hard figures were available — the group will post interim results for the six months ending June 26 in August.

According to Cineworld’s trading update, the company saw “box office growth well in excess of 100%” last month, helped by the releases of summer tentpoles like “Sex and the City” and “The Incredible Hulk.”

Cineworld anticipates a difficult July and August compared to the same time last year, but expects to recover lost revs with the releases of the next “Batman,” “Harry Potter” and “James Bond” franchises during the final quarter of the year.

Later this month Cineworld will begin operations on Digital Cinema Media, its joint advertising venture with Odeon Cinemas. Cineworld CEO Steve Wiener said that he hopes “DCM will offer an attractive alternative for advertisers and operators of other cinema chains.”

The joint venture was approved by the Office of Fair Trading on Tuesday.

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