New sites to see Cineworld trump UK cinema market

Cineworld plans to open up 25 new cinemas over the next four years, the group has said to Reuters. The British company is seeking to get the edge in the cinema market - the planned cinemas would topple market dominator Odeon.

It currently has 101 sites, compared with competitor Odeon's 112 sites, and Vue's 80.

Cineworld Cinemas' market share in the 16 weeks to 17 October was 25.9 per cent - a 0.9 per cent increase compared to the same period last year. Its year-to-date market share is 25.5 per cent.

The group as a whole saw a market share of 27.4 per cent, with total revenues up 11 per cent for the 16 weeks to 17 October - a 17.7 per cent rise in the 42 weeks to the same date.

Chief financial officer Philip Bowcock told Reuters today that the company "intend[s] to open up to and possibly beyond 25 new cinemas ... up until 2017".
Cineworld recently bought independent film operator Picturehouse for £47.3m. The group runs separately and brings 21 cinemas to the 101 total.

The cinema company is on track to open its new nine-screen cinema at Wembley by the end of October. It has reopened its Glasgow Science Centre IMAX and plans to replace its ten-screen cinema in Gloucester at the beginning of December.

After announcing earlier in the month that one Picturehouse cinema per designated town would be disposed of, Cineworld says that it is to lose one in Aberdeen and one in Bury St Edmunds - it hasn't yet made a decision regarding Cambridge.

Strong box office performances are anticipated for up-coming films, says Cineworld. "Thor: The Dark World", "Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" are all set to do well. Having said that, because of strong financial results on the back of successful films like "Skyfall" in the last quarter, the group expects fourth quarter results to be broadly in line with current market expectations for the full year.