Cineworld boosted by string of blockbuster film smashes

CINEMA chain Cineworld said 2010 sales rose 4.7 per cent as a series of blockbusters packed its venues.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Inception and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part one) were among the big hits which drove sales.

The company said it expected full-year profit to be within the range of market expectations as the negative impact on sales due to harsh winter was offset by a strong performance from the rest of the year.

“The year saw Avatar and Toy Story 3 in 3D become the highest and second highest grossing films respectively in UK box office terms,” the company said in a statement.

The company, which operates 801 screens from 78 sites, said the poor weather last month hurt box office sales as potential cinema-goers struggled to get out but overall the trend was positive.

For the 52 weeks to 30 December the company’s box office sales rose 4.2 per cent, while retail revenue fell 1.5 per cent.

Cineworld also said it was confident of its performance in the year ahead, supported by an attractive film release programme for 2011, with more 3D films in the pipeline.