Cineplex Galaxy profits from boxoffice boost

Record Q3 receipts for Canada's largest exhibitor

TORONTO -- Those 3D "Ice Age" dinosaurs and premium Imax fare helped lift Cineplex Galaxy Income Fund to record boxoffice during the third quarter on higher attendance at the local multiplex.

Toronto-based Cineplex, Canada's largest exhibitor with 1338 screens in 130 theatres nationwide, posted CAN$20.4 million in earnings for the three months to Sept. 30, up 11% from a profit of CAN$18.4 million in 2008, despite a challenging economy.

Overall revenue rose 7.7% to CAN$257.5 million, against a year-earlier CAN$239 million, as boxoffice revenue rose 7.5% to CAN$155.9 million, a record take in receipts that bettered the CAN$151.4 million recorded in the second quarter of 2009.

Theatre attendance was up 4.4% during the latest quarter to 18.8 million Canadians, against 18 million during the same period last year.

Cineplex did big numbers during the third quarter on a greater variety of films, compared to last year when "The Dark Knight" dominated third quarter 2008 boxoffice. And Cineplex scored with 3D titles that included "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" and "The Final Destination" and Imax releases "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" and "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," which were priced at a premium over regular ticket prices.

Cineplex also managed to push through select ticket price increases in November 2008.

Concession revenue during the third quarter rose 9% to CAN$78 million.

As Canadians continue to embrace the 3D film phenomenon, Cineplex plans to convert up to 30% of its screens to the new digital format by the end of 2010.