Cineplex Q4 buoyed by 3D, media sales

The company's fourth quarter revenue, however, dropped against 2009's Avatar-fuelled box office boost.


The Avatar effect gives, and the Avatar effect takes away.

Canadian movie exhibition giant Cineplex Galaxy found that out Thursday as it released its year-end 2010 results, which included a fall in fourth quarterly revenue as box-office attendance dropped 8%.

The culprit was major box office at Cineplex multiplexes from Avatar 3D in the last quarter of 2009, which just couldn’t be replicated in the latest quarter.

The result was fourth quarter revenue off 2.6% to $240.8 million.

At the same time, fourth quarter earnings were $10.9 million, against $9.5 million a year ago, as Cineplex took advantage of higher ticket prices for 3D films paid by Canadian cinema-goers since Avatar 3D burst onto screens here last year, a thriving ad media business and record concession sales.

‘I’m not really concerned. I’m expecting the first quarter to be bad,’ Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob said.

Media revenues in the company’s fourth quarter were up 9% over the same quarter last year, rising to $25.2 million. Media revenues for the year totalled $82.3 million, up 23.2% over 2009.

The first quarter of 2010 was turbo-charged by the continued screening of Avatar 3D and Alice in Wonderland 3D.

Cineplex won’t have those blockbusters in the first quarter of 2011.

But looking at the year ahead, Jacob likes what he sees in the Hollywood movie pipeline.

‘The second and third quarters look more robust,’ he insisted, pointing to a host of coming Hollywood sequels like Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers, Cars, Kung Fu Panda, The Hangover and the latest Harry Potter franchise instalment.

From Playback Daily with files from Media in Canada