Regal Owner Cineworld's January-April Revenue Drops Amid Weaker Box Office

Courtesy of Cineworld

Cineworld in London's Leicester Square

The second-largest cinema operator in the world reported a 9.4 percent revenue drop, but said 'Avengers Endgame' was "always set to be the beginning of real strength in this year's slate."

British exhibition giant Cineworld Group, which last year completed its $3.6 billion acquisition of Regal Entertainment Group, said Wednesday that 2019 got off to a slow start amid tough comparisons with a strong year-ago box office, with its revenue down 9.4 percent for the first four months. 

Cineworld reported that its U.S. revenue fell 11.0 percent and its U.K./Ireland unit recorded an 11.1 percent drop, while its rest of world segment grew revenue 6.6 percent. Assuming constant currencies, the company's total revenue fell 9.3 percent, the U.K. business dropped 12.1 percent, and the rest of the world rose 9.1 percent.

The record-breaking performance of Avengers: Endgame started late in the reported period.

"As expected, the box office performance for the reported period was slower than the comparative period in 2018, reflecting the difference in the timing of major releases," Cineworld said. "The 2018 comparative period included Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, the top-grossing films of the year, as well as the carryover of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which were released in late 2017."

The company highlighted that, "over the past three weeks, all markets have seen a record performance driven by record-breaking Avengers: Endgame, which has grossed over $2.5 billion globally to date."

Cineworld touted that "a strong lineup of films is expected for the remainder of the first half" of the year, including Pokémon Detective Pikachu, Aladdin, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, The Secret Life of Pets 2, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Men In Black: International and Toy Story 4. And it lauded "a strong film slate for the second half of 2019." 

"The refurbishment and integration plans for Regal are progressing well, and management is reviewing further opportunities," Cineworld said. "We have now signed over 30 agreements with landlords for several strategic sites to be refurbished in the U.S."

"The relatively slow start to the year in the first four months has come as no surprise," said Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Cineworld. "Avengers Endgame was always set to be the beginning of real strength in this year's slate. The record-breaking results of this latest Avengers movie prove the undisputed power of the theatrical business and its popularity around the globe."