Blockbuster releases and ticket price rises lift Cineworld profits

THE SUCCESS of James Bond’s record-breaking Skyfall and The Hobbit film pushed profits at film theatre operator Cineworld up 15 per cent in 2012.

The company, the UK’s second largest cinema owner, said yesterday that big-ticket hits had met expectations – or in the case of Skyfall, exceeded them – and that box office revenues had been boosted in recent weeks by the success of Les Miserables.

Cineworld’s blockbuster year came despite a fall in admissions, which was blamed on the distraction of the Queen’s jubilee, the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Euro 2012 football tournament. However, a five per cent hike in ticket prices pushed revenues slightly up to £358.7m and profits to £38.5m.

The average Cineworld ticket price was £5.26, compared to £5.01 the previous year, while the average customer spent £1.72 on food and drink.

Cineworld said it had a strong pipeline of expected box office hits for this year, including Oz the Great and Powerful, and sequels such as Star Trek and The Hangover.