The UK cinema chain Vue has increased its post-tax profits to £18 million compared to £15 million year-on-year, according to its latest annual results. Revenue also increased to £215 million from £193 million in the 12 months to November 26. The exhibition chain currently operates 654 screens at 68 cinema sites, although more openings are planned. In its latest Companies House filing, the privately-owned firm says it expects this year’s admissions to keep pace with 2009’s 170 million ticket sales. Others though predict that admissions will dip by three per cent this year, even though the 2010 box office total is expected to match 2009’s £1 billion total (see “British Cinemas Set to Break £1B Again”). The uplift is coming from the extra money operators are charging for 3D.
Vue has been ripping out seats in the sweet spots of its screens, replacing them with airplane first-class style seating. These leatherette seats have fake-wood arm rests for parking those lucrative soft drinks and concession snacks. Customers have to pay an extra £1.55 to watch 3D Avatar in one of these bad boys. That’s on top of the extra £3.50 a ticket they’re already paying to watch the 3D version.