Hollywood's Summer Box Office Bombs Not Worrying Top Canadian Exhibitor

1:30 PM PST 08/08/2013 by Etan Vlessing
"Iron Man 3" and "Fast & Furious 6"

Ellis Jacob, CEO of Cineplex Entertainment, said the media overlooked performers like "Iron Man 3" and "Fast and Furious 6" that drove record second-quarter performance.

TORONTO -- Those U.S. box office bombs aren't worrying Ellis Jacob.

Canada's top exhibitor on Thursday posted record second-quarter revenues of $301.6 million at Cineplex Entertainment, up 14.4 percent from the same period of 2012.

Earnings were up 30 percent to $28.5 million during the three months to June 30, as tentpoles like Iron Man 3, Star Trek: Into Darkness and Man of Steel played well in Jacob's theaters countrywide.

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The Cineplex CEO insists Hollywood's domestic movie crisis has been blown out of proportion by the media, and the studio tentpole model hardly needs fixing.

"There's a heck of a lot of publicity around when movies like Lone Ranger, White House Down, and other summer movies like the Will Smith movie [After Earth] are released," Jacob tells The Hollywood Reporter. "But when there are great results, nobody talks a lot about them, and that's the difference from what I see this year in the second quarter when there are a lot more blockbusters."

During the second quarter, attendance at Cineplex multiplexes rose 8.6 percent to 18.6 million, which also drove up concession sales and other ancillary business. Despite the box office bombs, Jacob said Cineplex had enough performers to satisfy consumer choice and drive his company to record results.

Also prominent in Cineplex theaters during the latest financial frame was Fast and Furious 6 and The Great Gatsby.

Last year's second quarter was dominated by Marvel's The Avengers. What's more, Smurfs 2, which underwhelmed in the U.S. market, did proportionally better in the Canadian market for Cineplex. That said, Jacob would like to see the studios unwind their crowded summer tentpole schedule to more of a year-round business.

"To me, the most important thing is making this business a 52-week business, keeping people engaged and coming back to the theaters, because there is so much to offer that we didn't even have five years ago, like 3D and Imax," Jacob argues.

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