Summer Box Office Flops Drag Down Regal Earnings

A mediocre crop of summer blockbusters has put a drag on Regal Entertainment’s earnings.

The country’s largest theater chain saw second quarter revenues fall 9.8% to $785.9 million, compared to $862.8 million for the year-ago period. Profits fell more than 35% to $33.5 million, down from $53.4 million in the same quarter in 2015, while adjusted earnings per share dipped from 38 cents to 23 cents.

The culprit was a series of film flops such as “Alice Through the Looking Glass” and “Warcraft,” as well as sequels like “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” that didn’t match the profits of their predecessors.  Though year-to-date receipts are up, the summer box office is down nearly 10%.

The financial results fell just short of Wall Street’s expectations. Analysts had projected earnings per share of 24 cents on revenue of $794.7 million.

Admissions revenue fell 11% to $505.8 million, as customers bought fewer tickets. Concessions took a more modest dip, falling less than 5% to $235.5 million.

Softening the blow from the lackluster quarter, Regal’s board approved a cash dividend of $0.22 per share.

Regal CEO Amy Miles said that improvements in seating and more concession offerings had helped the chain weather the box office downturn. Like most theater chains, Regal has outfitted several locations with comfy chairs that carry a premium price and now offers wine and beer in some venues. Miles also sounded an optimistic note about the rest of the calendar year’s big screen offerings.

“With year-to-date industry box office results slightly ahead of last year’s record setting pace and an exciting film slate in the back half of the year, we remain optimistic regarding the potential for box office success in 2016,” Miles said in a statement.

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