TORONTO - Cineplex doubled its profits in the third quarter as the movie exhibitor countered a decline in moviegoers with higher priced tickets and more sales at its concession stands.
Chief executive Ellis Jacob told analysts on Thursday that a strong start to the summer movie season quickly petered out as blockbuster hits like "The Dark Knight Rises" and "The Amazing Spider-Man" were followed by numerous flops.
"With the exception of 'The Bourne Legacy,' films in the latter part of the quarter generated softer than expected results," he said.
Yet the company still managed to strengthen results, on ticket price increases in some regions and overall stronger concession sales, which it attributed to changes in its food selection and better promotions.
Canada's largest movie theatre operator said that net income rose to $51.7 million, or 83 cents per share, in the three month period ended Sept. 30. The results compared to $25.7 million, or 44 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.
Revenues grew 1.7 per cent to $281.4 million, beating analyst expectations by about $3 million, and rising about $276.7 million a year earlier.
Concession revenue per person was also up 5.6 per cent to $4.68.
It said that aside from the Top Five films, the rest of the summer movie lineup bombed, including "Total Recall."
Attendance was down one per cent at its cinemas to 18.3 million tickets sold, but by raising ticket prices in some regions, box office revenue increased to a record $8.84 per person.
Jacob said in an interview that he believes a combination of the NHL hockey lockout and cooler weather in some areas of the country has likely bolstered the box office in the current fourth quarter.
Canadian box-office revenues for five weeks of the fourth-quarter have risen 18.8 per cent over the same time last year, he said.
"I think it might be the quality and the varied film product that's out there too," Jacob said.
"It's movies like 'Argo' and 'Hotel Transylvania' that have performed extremely well."
The Toronto-based company has been upgrading to digital projectors as part of a plan to make more of its theatres a "premium" experience. Cineplex has also ramped up the expansion of its higher priced "VIP'' theatres that cater exclusively to adults by offering larger seats, menu service, and a licensed auditorium and lounge.
The move is part of a broader expansion at Cineplex of premium priced ticket options, which have helped drive box-office revenue even during quarters when Hollywood movies fell short of expectations.
Cineplex runs 133 theatres located from British Columbia to Quebec with 1,437 screens under its numerous brands which include Cineplex Odeon, Galaxy, Famous Players, Colossus, SilverCity and Scotiabank theatres.
The company has about 10,000 employees.
VIP Screen And Seats
VIP Bar And Lounge
Rooftop Cinema, Melbourne, Australia
This cinema on a roof in the heart of Melbourne is furnished with 160 Ici Et La deck chairs. Cine lovers can enjoy a movie with a view. The theater also serves fresh food from All Day Burgers, including gourmet ice cream and salty sweet chips. The view from the theater is pictured here.
reRun Theatre, Brooklyn, NY
An independent movie theater, reRun has reclaimed car seats, organic wines, a full liquor cabinet and and beer on the tap, giving a whole new meaning to be drunk behind the wheel.
Alamo Drafthouse, Texas, United States
This strict movie theater, with locations across Texas, has some interesting rules including a "zero tolerance" policy for talking and texting. The theater doesn't play any advertisements before movies and prides itself in providing a disruption free movie experience.
Uplink X, Tokyo, Japan
This tiny theater with 30 seats in Japan offers a multipurpose seating arrangement, making the movie-going experience conversation friendly. Quite the change from Texas we think.