Cineplex Sets Quarterly Revenue Record on Strength of 'Minions' and 'Mission: Impossible'

Mission Impossible Rogue Nation - H 2015

Mission Impossible Rogue Nation - H 2015

The Canadian exhibition giant says it's too early to measure success after teaming with Paramount to shorten genre movie release windows.

Canadian exhibition giant Cineplex on Tuesday posted record third-quarter revenues as it received a box office bump from Minions, Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation and Ant-Man.

Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob also told The Hollywood Reporter it is too early to measure the success of pacting with Paramount on a test run to make certain wide-release films available in homes far earlier than the traditional theatrical window. "Because both movies are still in theaters and the test is still in progress, it's too early to say what the outcome will be," Jacob said.

He was speaking after Cineplex and AMC Theaters became the first North American exhibitors to let Paramount make the low-budget fall titles Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension and Scout's Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse available digitally just 17 days after they were all but done with their theatrical run.

"From a box office perspective, the films opened weaker than we would have liked," Jacob earlier told analysts during a morning call. At the same time, the Canadian box office percentage of North America was 14.5 percent for the first week of Paranormal Activity and 19.1 percent for the first week of Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse -- higher than the traditional 10 percent share Hollywood movies tend to secure in the Canadian market.

Jacob cautioned Paramount's VOD testing with Cineplex will not extend to bigger Hollywood movies that can play for 10 weeks or more at the local multiplex. "It's a matter of working with our partners and finding out what works," he said of sticking to genre movies for the road test. 

The Canadian progress report on the Paramount's VOD plan came as Cineplex recorded a box office record as attendance at its nationwide multiplexes jumped 7.6 percent to 19.4 million patrons. Cineplex posted earnings of CAN$21.4 million (US$16 million) for the three months to Sept. 30, up 30 percent from a year-earlier profit of CAN$15.9 million (US$11.9 million).

Overall revenue rose 9.8 percent to CAN$328.2 million (US$247.3 million), a new quarterly record. That included box office revenue rising 6.1 percent to CAN$172.6 million (US$130 million), a Cineplex third-quarter record, as was concession revenue rising 14.5 percent to CAN$105.5 million (US$79 million).

Cineplex gained from a better performing mix of Hollywood films during the last financial quarter, including Minions and Mission: Impossible, its biggest box office performers, compared with the same period of 2014, when the exhibitor did its biggest business from Guardians of the Galaxy, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.