Cineworld H1 revenues up despite World Cup

Boxoffice uptick boosted by ticket price increases

LONDON -- U.K. exhibition chain Cineworld booked an uptick in first half revenues despite the month long FIFA World Cup soccer tournament.

The second largest cinema chain operator in the U.K. said group revenues crept up 3.8% to £162 million ($253 million) during the first half of 2010, up from £161.9 million ($253 million) during the same period the previous year.

In only its second full year as a publicly listed company, Cineworld also noted a 5.2% uptick in EBITDA to £24.4 million ($38.1 million) in the first half of this year.

Cineworld CEO Stephen Wiener said the group was pleased "despite the impact of the World Cup which, as anticipated, resulted in a quiet June."

Wiener said the deals struck with Arts Alliance Media to roll out digital screens across the entire estate will "enable us to offer our customers greater choice, both in 2D and 3D films, as well as exhibiting a wider range of alternative content."

All eyes are on upcoming anticipated releases such as "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" and "Little Fockers", as well as a promising 3-D film slate including "Harry Potter – Deathly Hallows 1", the first 3-D film in this franchise and "Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader" to bolster revenues in the second half of this year.

The exhibitor noted that boxoffice tills rang to the tune of £111.7 million ($174.6 million) during the six months to July 1 this year, up an incremental 0.2% from the same period in 2009.

The average ticket price rose to £4.93 ($7.70) by the beginning of July this year, up from £4.59 ($7.18) last year, helping to offset a 3% fall in admissions to 22.7 million ticket sales in the first half of 2009.