Regal posts Q4 gains in sales, profit

Net income was up 21% to $35.5 million

Regal Entertainment, the world's biggest movie exhibition company, on Tuesday posted higher sales and profit in its fiscal fourth quarter, taking advantage of a record year for the domestic boxoffice.

Net income was up 21% to $35.5 million. Revenue rose 8% to $766 million, with admissions revenue up 10% to $527 million and concessions up 3% to $199 million.

For the fiscal year, however, Regal posted net income that dropped 15% to $95.5 million on revenue that rose 4% to $2.9 billion.

Regal's fiscal fourth quarter this time around consisted of 13 weeks compared to 14 weeks a year ago, and its fiscal year was 52 weeks long this time, compared with 53 weeks a year ago.

During a conference call with analysts, CEO Amy Miles sought to calm fears of shrinking theatrical windows and of too few 3D screens.

The former, she said, is not as bad as the media portrays it, given that only a few select titles are making their DVD appearances less than three months after their theatrical runs begin.

She said no "wholesale change" is afoot concerning windows, especially since 3D is so popular on the big screen nowadays.

The 3D model will be put to the test beginning March 5 when Disney's "Alice in Wonderland" opens, to be followed March 26 by DreamWorks Animation's "How to Train Your Dragon" and Warner Bros.' "Clash of the Titans" on April 2. All are in 3D.

Miles said Regal will have 527 3D screens by late March, up from 427 at the beginning of the year, and that many of the company's megaplexes will sport multiple 3D screens, mitigating the problems caused by overlapping 3D titles.

Regal shares closed 2% higher on Tuesday to $14.60 and were up another nickel in after-hours trading, when its results were released.