Despite a period of temporary closures from January to April/May 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions and limited film slate, business rallied in the fourth quarter for the Cineworld Group cinema chain to post revenues of $1.8 billion for 2021.

The company, which owns Regal cinemas in the U.S., recorded a $708.3 million loss before tax for the full year ending Dec. 31, 2021, a vast improvement from the $3 billion loss in 2020.

Adjusted loss after tax was $655.7 million, compared to $913.2 million the previous year. Group adjusted EBITDA rose to $454.9 million, up from the 2020 loss of $115.1 million. The group raised over $424.9 million of liquidity and received $203m under the United States CARES Act tax refund.

The group’s net debt, excluding lease liabilities increased by $492.7 million from $4.33 billion to $4.84 billion.

Admissions climbed from 54.4 million in 2020 to 95.3 million in 2021.

Alicja Kornasiewicz, chair of Cineworld Group, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic dominated the financial year and provided an enormous challenge for our business, our people and our partners. I am very proud of how the business has met these challenges, delivering to the very best of our abilities for all our stakeholders. I would like to thank our people for their loyalty and support during the closure periods and their determination and efforts to reopen our cinemas.”

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Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger added: “Whilst our 2021 results still reflect the impacts of COVID-19, particularly at the start of the financial year, we are encouraged by the recent strong trading performance throughout the final quarter. It is clear that our customers remain loyal and have missed the big screen experience as well as the sociability of watching a movie with others. Our strong final quarter performance reflects the pent-up demand for affordable out-of-home entertainment and the record breaking film slate, including ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home,’ which showcased the importance of cinematic releases.”

“The business is well positioned to execute its strategy and capitalise on the highly anticipated movie schedule, which includes ‘Avatar,’ ‘Top Gun Maverick,’ ‘Jurassic World: Dominion,’ ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru,’ ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,’ ‘Thor: Love and Thunder,’ ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,’ ‘Bullet Train,’ ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,’ ‘Pixar’s Lightyear,’ ‘Fantastic Beast,’ ‘Elvis’ and many more,” Greidinger said.

Cineworld operates in 10 countries including the U.S. and the U.K. with 751 sites and 9,189 screens globally.