Cineplex doubles Q3 profit, despite theatre attendance fall

Addition of four AMC theatres, record concession revenues and premium ticket pricing enabled the Canadian exhibition giant to drive up bottom line earnings.

Despite a slight fall in theatre attendance, Canadian exhibitor Cineplex Inc. on Thursday doubled its third quarter profits on higher revenue-per-patron.

Toronto-based Cineplex posted earnings up 101% to $51.7 million, against a profit of $25.7 million in 2011, on overall revenue up just under 2% to $281.4 million.

Cineplex drew in 18.3 million Canadians to its cinema chain during the latest quarter, down 1% from 18.5 million visits in 2011.

That had Q3 box office revenues down by $400,000 to $162.1 million.

At the same time, the top five films during the latest frame, led by The Dark Knight Rises, outperformed the top five films in the same period of 2011.

And Cineplex mitigated the falling theatre attendance with a first-time contribution from four AMC venues recently added to its nationwide chain, theatres located in major markets and so able to secure higher ticket prices than smaller markets.

And concession revenues were up 4.6% to $86 million.

The result was box office revenue per-patron rose nearly 1% to $8.84 during the latest quarter, against a year-earlier $8.77.

“We are pleased with the progress in our key initiatives and are encouraged by the industry box office results for October and the quality of the film product for the balance of the quarter,” Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob said in a statement that accompanied the release of his company’s latest results.