Cineworld profit lifted by blockbusters

British cinema chain Cineworld posted a higher full-year profit helped by a string of popular releases during the Christmas season, and said it expected a strong blockbuster line-up for 2012.

The operator of cinema complexes throughout the UK and Ireland said films such as the latest in the Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean and Twilight series, as well as The Hangover sequel drove revenue in 2011.

Pre-tax profit rose to £33.4m from £30.4m last year.

The group's revenue rose 1.5 per cent to £348m.

The company's subscription programme, which allows people to watch as many movies as they want for a fixed amount, contributed to over 16 per cent of total box office revenue.

London-based Cineworld also received a boost from the 3D-movie boom, which generated both higher ticket prices and helped attract a wider audience.

The UK's only listed cinema chain said sequels and franchises like James Bond and Batman were expected to continue to drive business in 2012.

Cineworld shares, which have risen more than 10 per cent in value since the company's last quarterly results in October, closed at 200 pence on Wednesday on the London Stock Exchange.