'Mediocre movies' hurt Kinepolis boxoffice


BRUSSELS -- European cinema chain Kinepolis Group on Friday reported a 6% drop in attendance for the first quarter of this year, blaming it on "the mediocre range of films on offer during this period."

The group said that the top five movies from the January to March period -- "Night at the Museum," "Taxi 4," "Blood Diamond," "The Departed" and "La Mome" -- compared poorly with the boxoffice hits from the same period last year. Those films included "The Chronicles of Narnia," "King Kong," "Munich," "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" and "Les Bronzes 3."

The three-month period saw the group sell 5.7 million tickets to its cinema complexes, off 4% from the 6.1 million that walked through the turnstiles from January to March 2006. However, the latest figures include new complexes in Bruges and Poland so, on a comparative basis, the numbers are down 6%.

The results come a month after Kinepolis reported net profits of €14.6 million ($19.1 million) in 2006, up 80% from its €8.1 million ($10.6 million) profit in 2005.

Kinepolis, launched in 1997, has more than 300 screens in 22 cinema complexes in Belgium, France, Spain, Poland and Switzerland and employs more than 1,900 people.