Cineplex Earnings Rise on Premium Ticket, Concessions Sales

Courtesy of Disney
Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast'

Despite a weaker Hollywood film slate, Canadians paid 3D upcharges for 'Beauty and the Beast,' 'The Lego Batman Movie' and 'Rogue One.'

Canada's Cineplex saw first-quarter earnings and revenue rise on record premium ticket and concessions sales, despite falling attendance and Hollywood box-office revenues.

Canadians paid premium 3D ticket prices for tentpoles like Beauty and the Beast, The Lego Batman Movie and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story during the latest quarter, enabling Cineplex to post a record first-quarter box office per-patron of CAN$9.97 (US$7.20).

"Our premium offerings drove a significant amount of the business," Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob told The Hollywood Reporter after the Canadian exhibitor in recent years installed digital and 3D technology across its chain to take advantage of 3D movie upcharges. Premium offerings, including Imax and VIP screens, accounted for 44.9 percent of first-quarter box-office revenue.

The record per-customer box-office spend came despite overall box-office revenue falling 1.7 percent to CAN$195.4 million (US$142.3 million), as Cineplex had a tough first-quarter comparison to 2016 when it had Deadpool and Star Wars: The Force Awakens on its screens.

Still, net income during the latest quarter rose 7 percent to CAN$23 million (US$16.7 million) on overall revenues up 4 percent to $394.2 million (US$287 million). "What helped us is our diversification — it helped us succeed both on the movie side and with our other media, entertainment and leisure businesses," Jacob said.

Besides four 3D movies among its top-five box office performers during the latest quarter, against three in the prior-year period, Cineplex also thrived as customers spent more on expensive snacks as concessions revenue per-patron rose 5 percent to a record CAN$5.71 (US$4.16).