Cineworld, the world’s second largest theater group, has released partial results for 2018 with highlights including revenue growth of 7.2% on a pro-forma basis and a record 308M cinema-goers.
According to the conglomerate, which last year completed its $3.6B acquisition of Regal Entertainment, admissions increased by 2.6% compared with the prior year. The firm put the growth down to a strong film slate in the U.S., refurbishments and the roll-out of premium formats. There were healthy rises in revenues for box office, concessions and screen advertising.
U.S. revenue grew by 8.6%, in part driven by a record year for the box office. Movies such as Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Incredibles 2 were among key drivers.
UK & Ireland revenue grew by 3% (-0.6% on a constant currency basis) with revenue growth impacted by the strength of the comparable film slate in 2017, particularly Star Wars. The highest grossing films for the year in the UK were Avengers: Infinity War, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! and Incredibles 2. Cineworld’s UK interests include arthouse chain Picturehouse.
Rest of the world revenue grew by 3.1%, which was flat on a constant currency basis. Locally produced films performed well, especially in Poland where Kler and Kobiety Mafii were the top grossing films for the year.
During 2018 the group opened 13 new sites (108 screens): six in the US, six in the UK and one in Romania. 14 of the firm’s sites were closed (11 in the US, one in the UK, two in ROW). The total number of sites in the Group at 31 December 2018 was 790 with 9,518 screens.
Last year, the group also announced new agreements with IMAX, 4DX and ScreenX and plans to install 55 new IMAX Laser projectors, 80 new 4DX screens in the U.S. and 100 new ScreenX auditoriums. In 2018, 19 ScreenX and 9 4DX were opened across the estate.
“The integration and development plans for Regal are progressing well and management continue to review further opportunities,” the company said, predicting further growth in 2019. “The refurbishment program in the U.S. is on track with several strategic sites planned to be refurbished in 2019. There is a strong film slate for 2019 including, The LEGO Movie 2, Captain Marvel, Dumbo, Shazam!, Avengers: Endgame, Aladdin, Godzilla: King Of The Monsters, Toy Story 4, Spider-Man: Far from Home, The Lion King, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, It: Chapter 2, Frozen 2 and Star Wars: Episode IX.”
Full year results will be announced on Thursday 14 March 2019.