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Cinemark saw positive box office recovery in its first quarter across all categories of films, as the movie theater chain tries to shake off lingering effects from the pandemic.
In addition to momentum built from blockbuster films such as Spider-Man: No Way Home and Batman, Cinemark said Sonic the Hedgehog 2 gave the movie theater chain its biggest opening weekend in close to a decade.
“Nearly every film released in 2022 to has performed in line or better than pre-pandemic expectations, benefitting from favorable opening weekend results and strong week-to-week holds, which in many cases exceeded historic trends,” said Sean Gamble, president and chief executive of Cinemark.
Gamble said he believes mid-tier and smaller films will also see recovery over time, as broader categories of audience members have already begun returning to theaters.
Still, the film release schedule in the three months ended March 31 continued to see impacts from COVID-19 as release dates were shifted from 2022 to 2023 due to production delays. The company said it expects its 2022 to remain below pre-pandemic levels due to the reduced film slate.
Cinemark has been exploring the possibility of bringing in more films from streaming providers such as Netflix to help fill in holes in the slim film release schedule.
In the three months ended March 31, Cinemark reported revenue of $460.5 million, up 303 percent from the year earlier-quarter. The company recorded a net loss of $74 million, narrowing its year-earlier loss of $208.4 million.
In the first quarter, the theater chain recorded admissions from 33.1 million patrons, who brought in admissions revenues of $235.8 million and concession revenues of $173 million. Average ticket prices in the U.S. was $9.27, slightly up from $9.25 in the year-earlier quarter.
The movie theater chain has seen positive performance over the last several quarters, which Gamble attributed in part to the fact that the movie theater chain was one of the first to reopen during the pandemic, which he said created “tremendous goodwill” with audience members.
Cinemark continues to make investments in its theaters, and is moving forward with plans to convert its entire global circuit to Cinionic laser projection. During the pandemic, Cinemark also saw consumers consistently elect upgrades to larger format screens and look for other upgrades as part of the theatergoing experience, as Cinemark has seen its theaters with reclined chairs recover faster than those without those seats.
As government restrictions lift on movie theaters across the world, Cinemark was bullish on the continued recovery for the sector.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness had a “massive” opening box office Thursday night, Gamble said, marking the fourth largest pre-show opening ever for the movie theater chain in the U.S. And Cinemark is also looking to the release of tentpole films such as Jurassic World Dominion, Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Avatar: The Way of Water to help drive box office results through 2022.
After recently attending CinemaCon, Cinemark executives said they were encouraged by the continued relationship between studios and exhibitors and the continued emphasis on the “strategic benefits” of theatrical release.
“This observation underscores how theatrical exhibition can be complementary and accretive to streaming, no different than it has been for DVDs, paid TV and free TV for years,” Gamble said.
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