Cinemark Attendance, Financials Decline in Fourth Quarter

The movie theater operator for the first time crossed the $2 billion revenue mark for the full year though and reported a 2.7% uptick in quarterly concession revenue per patron.

NEW YORK – Movie theater operator Cinemark Holdings on Thursday reported a lower fourth-quarter profit amid a slight revenue decline and higher interest expense.

Cinemark’s $38 million profit was down 4.8 percent compared with $39.9 million in the year-ago period. Revenue of $524.9 million was down 2.1 percent from $536.4 million.

Admissions revenue dropped 2.8 percent to $341.7 million amid a 7 percent decline in attendance, while concession revenue fell 4.5 percent to $153.8 million. Cinemark said average ticket prices rose 4.7 percent, and concession revenue per patron climbed 2.7 percent.

The firm finished 2010 with more than $2 billion in revenue for the first time in its history. As of the end of 2010, the company operated 4,945 screens.

On a conference call, management said 2011 film releases look solid with an increase in the number of 3D movies compared with 2010. The company also said it expects its circuit to be fully digital in the U.S. some time in 2012.

Asked about studios' premium VOD plans, Cinemark's executives said they keep hearing from studio folks expressions of support for the theatrical release window as a key part of their business. While different studios seem to have different visions of premium VOD releases and how soon after the theatrical start such movies would be available in homes, public comments so far don't sound like the new window will have a major impact on theater operators, management said. However, if there is an impact, exhibitors have various levers at their disposal, they said, citing decision power on if, where and on how many screens a movie is shown. Management also signalled that exhibitors could start charging for certain services, such as promotions for films, if premium VOD affects their business.