Exhibition giant and Regal owner Cineworld reported improving box office and concession revenue trends for its third quarter and October, which neared pre-coronavirus pandemic levels as revenue for the month amounted to 90 percent of 2019 results.
CEO Mooky Greidinger on Monday touted positive cinema business trends, saying: “We are thrilled to see audiences returning in significant numbers. Our partnerships with the studios are as strong as ever and with the incredible movie slate to come, there are real grounds for optimism in our industry.”
“Customer demand has been particularly strong in a number of the group’s markets, in some cases even above the levels experienced in 2019,” the exhibitor said.
Exhibitors’ financials and their stocks were under pressure amid the coronavirus pandemic, but have started bouncing back.
The company, led by CEO Mooky Greidinger, said its revenue rose to 50 percent of 2019 levels in July, followed by 54 percent in August, 60 percent in September and 90 percent in October. In the U.K. and Ireland, October revenue even exceeded 2019 levels, reaching 127 percent of that pre-pandemic month’s result.
The company also highlighted that it generated positive cash flow in October, calling this “an important milestone in the company’s recovery.” Given the company’s high debt load, generating positive cash flow is a particular focus for management.
The cinema recovery has been “driven by an excellent slate of movies, including Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Venom, No Time to Die and Dune,” Cineworld said. “There are still major blockbusters to be released in 2021, including Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Encanto, Spider-Man: No Way Home, The King’s Man, Sing 2 and The Matrix Resurrections, which we anticipate will perform very well subject to there being no deterioration in the COVID-19 situation.”
The company said positive revenue trends have combined with “discipline on costs” where the firm has been “focused on streamlining operations wherever possible, although we have seen some inflationary cost increases.”
Greidinger touted the business trends, saying: “I would especially highlight the great performances we saw from our newly refurbished cinemas in the U.S. These new cinemas clearly support our strategy to enhance the cinema experience for all our customers. I am really proud of the extraordinary efforts that everybody in the business has made to manage this company during an unprecedented time. Whilst there are challenges ahead, I believe these efforts have positioned us for great success in the future.”