Sex sells in the cinema
- Credit: PA
Erotic drama Fifty Shades of Grey helped Cineworld whip up a surge in revenues for the first half of the year.
Box office takings in the UK and Ireland climbed 10.5% in the 26 weeks to July 2, with ticket sales for the wider group ahead by 10.9%.
Cineworld said the second half of the year also looked promising with the new Star Wars and James Bond film slated for release.
The group said it opened four new venues in the UK during the period - Cineworld sites at Swindon, Broughton, Chester and Silverburn, Glasgow, and a Picturehouse in East Dulwich, south London. It said it was on course to add a further six by the end of the year.
“With our plans for continued expansion across the group, the board remains confident of delivering a performance for the year as a whole in line with current market expectations,” the company said in a trading update.
Cineworld operates 208 sites including 107 in the UK and others in eastern Europe and Israel.
Films released during the period covered by the trading update included Fifty Shades as well as Marvel’s Avengers and Jurassic World.
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Total revenues grew by 11.2%, helped by a rise in retail sales - which include food and drink bought in cinema lobbies.
Cineworld said these sales, as well as advertising revenues, were boosted by the “nature of the film mix” in the first half.
The group said it was a “solid first half performance” and added: “There is a promising film release programme during the second half of the year.”
It is due to publish half-year results on August 13.
In March, the group saw its annual profits beat expectations, jumping 73% to £75 million, aided by last year’s acquisition of Israeli-founded rival Cinema City.