Belfast Telegraph

Blockbuster releases expected to boost Cineworld's year-end revenues

Blockbuster hits including Star Wars: Rogue One and Eddie Redmayne's new film Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them are expected to boost Cineworld revenues into year-end.

The company has already seen a 8.5% rise in box office sales in the 45 weeks to November 10, thanks in part to the release of family films such as The Secret Life Of Pets, Finding Dory, The BFG and Trolls over the second half of the year.

It also cheered better-than-expected sales for Bridget Jones's Baby, and said the superhero film Doctor Strange starring Benedict Cumberbatch was performing strongly.

Sahill Shan, an equity analyst and partner at N+1 Singer, said Cineworld's results have ended up "firmly defying earlier market scepticisms about 2016 being a dull year owing to the film slate being perceived as 'average'."

"And there is more to come with two potential blockbusters still to be screened over the next few weeks, a feature which we feel is not fully appreciated by the market."

The company is now looking ahead to two new major releases, namely Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, which opens in the UK on November 18, and Star Wars: Rogue One, which opens in the UK on December 15.

The cinema group went on to "pleasant growth" in retail revenues, which accounts for sales of popcorn, sweets and drinks.

Retail revenues jumped 14.1% over the period, thanks in part to the addition of four new Starbucks outlets in Cineworld cinemas, bringing the total number of Starbucks outlets to 23.

Cineworld, which operates across the UK and Ireland, as well as in eastern Europe, says it is confident it will deliver earnings in line with market expectations into year-end.

It comes after the company expanded its cinema network, acquiring five Empire cinemas including the Empire Leicester Square site, as well as new sites in Dalton Park and Harlow in the UK, and in Bucharest Titan in Romania.