Regal Entertainment downgraded

Cinema operator down on concern over sluggish boxoffice

NEW YORK -- An analyst downgraded Regal Entertainment Group Monday on concern that sluggish boxoffice sales could drag quarterly results below expectations.

Merriman Curhan Ford analyst Eric Wold cut his rating to "neutral" from "buy."

In a note to investors, Wold said a year-over-year drop in boxoffice revenue in the last few weeks of the quarter could knock the company's results off target.

Knoxville, Tenn.-based Regal operates the largest chain of movie theaters in the country.

Wold said the company's network of locations should keep it well placed to take advantage of growing boxoffice revenue over the long term, "as consumers seek out local, cost-effective entertainment" and premium options like 3-D and Imax screens become more popular.

He added, however, that "with near term boxoffice uncertainty ahead of (second-quarter) results, we recommend moving to the sidelines."

On average, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect Regal to post second-quarter income of 24 cents per share on revenue of $743.7 million.