Cinemark posts wider Q4 loss

Exhibitor says movie going a "bright spot" amid recession

NEW YORK -- Exhibitor Cinemark Holdings on Thursday reported a higher fourth-quarter loss due to an impairment charge, but said the movie theater business remains solid in the recession.

Revenue rose 3.7% to $407.8 million as admissions revenue increased by that same percentage to $261.7 million and concession revenue climbed 5.5% to $125.1 million. Attendance was up 5.9%.

But Cinemark reported a quarterly loss of $89.5 million, primarily due to $105.4 million of impairment charges. That compared to a year-ago loss of $53.8 million, which included $26.2 million in impairment charges.

But management lauded the underlying business trends despite the economic downturn.

"The motion picture industry continues to be a bright spot in the economy, experiencing strong fourth-quarter performance in an increasingly challenging global economic environment," said CEO Alan Stock.

"As in past recessions, consumers have proven that they recognize the cinema as an opportunity to affordably escape from everyday pressures.”

As of the end of 2008, the company had a screen count of 4,783.