AMC Ent. third-qtr. loss widens

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- AMC Entertainment Inc., the nation's second-largest theater chain, said its third-quarter loss widened despite a large jump in revenue linked to its merger last year with Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corp.

For the three months ending Dec. 28, the company said in a securities filing Wednesday that it lost $6.9 million, compared with a $4.3 million loss during the same period a year ago.

AMC Entertainment, with 382 theaters and 5,340 screens, is privately held but reports its financial data because some of its debt is still publicly traded. The company's parent, Marquee Holdings Inc., said in December it plans to hold an initial public offering for AMC.

Revenue during the quarter jumped 49.7% from $398.5 million to $596.4 million, mostly from the addition of Loews theaters. AMC acquired Loews last January for $537 million, gaining control over or an interest in 183 theaters and 2,117 screens in the U.S., Mexico and Spain.

The company said ticket sales for U.S. and Canadian theaters open for at least a year, a frequent retail benchmark known as comparable sales, increased 0.4% during the quarter, offset by a 5.2% decrease in tickets sold.

Through the first 39 weeks of the fiscal year, the company said losses have declined from $42.7 million to $25.4 million while revenue has increased 57% to $1.9 billion. Comparable ticket sales through that period have increased 4.2% on a 0.1% increase in attendance.
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