Regal Entertainment Beats Quarterly Expectations; Rules Out Charging Premium for 'Star Wars'

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Regal CEO Amy Miles

The movie exhibition company said the average amount each patron spent at the concession stand rose from $3.83 last year to $4.20 this time around.

Regal Entertainment Group on Tuesday posted third-quarter results that beat the expectations of analysts, and the theater chain's CEO said it would not charge extra for tickets to see the next Star Wars movie.

The movie-exhibition company earned 18 cents per share after impairment costs while analysts expected 15 cents. Revenue came in at $725 million while analysts predicted $714 million.

"I'm happy to report that today, almost 10 full months into 2015, that industry box office of over $8.8 billion is still 5 percent ahead of last year and almost 2 percent ahead of the previous record total experienced in 2013," Regal CEO Amy Miles said Tuesday.

The operator of 571 theaters with 7, 357 screens said admissions revenue rose 2 percent year-over-year to $469.9 million while concessions revenue was up 10 percent to $214.7 million.

The average customer spent $4.20 at the concession stand, up from $3.83 a year ago, Regal said Tuesday, and the average price of a ticket rose to $9.19 from $9.07.

During a conference call with analysts, Miles was asked if Regal might charge a premium for tickets to see Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens, and she said the theater chain would not.

She didn't rule out, though, the notion of charging more per ticket depending on the title in the future, but not this year.

Shares of Regal fell 3 percent to $18.64 on Tuesday and did not trade after the closing bell.

Also Tuesday, Regal declared a cash dividend of 22 cents per share payable to shareholders of record Dec. 15.

"With a number of highly anticipated releases scheduled for the upcoming holiday box-office season, we remain optimistic about the potential for box office success for the remainder of 2015 and early 2016," said Miles.