'Suicide Squad,' 'Secret Life of Pets' Drive Cineplex to Record Third-Quarter Box-Office Revenue

SUICIDE SQUAD 6 Squad Still H 2016
Warner Bros.

The exhibitor saw box-office revenue jump from Hollywood movies showing on 3D and other premium large-format screens despite a slight drop in attendance.

Summer blockbusters like Suicide Squad and The Secret Life of Pets propelled Cineplex to record third-quarter revenue as the Canadian exhibition giant continues to reap the rewards of investing heavily to put super-sized Hollywood movies on its screens at premium ticket prices.

Cineplex on Tuesday posted quarterly earnings that jumped 21 percent to $15.7 million on overall revenue that rose 14.5 percent to $281.2 million. The company was helped by premium large-format screens and 3D showings jumping to 46.5 percent of its box-office gross after the installations of UltraAVX, Imax and VIP screens. 

With four of its top five movie performers during the latest quarter, including Star Trek Beyond and Finding Dory, released in 3D, Cineplex's box-office revenue rose 4.4 percent, or $5.7 million, to a third-quarter record of $136 million. The third quarter of 2015 for Cineplex was dominated by Minions.

Cineplex also raised its returns per patron from ticket sales during the latest quarter, despite overall attendance slipping 1 percent to 19.2 million patrons.

The record business came from Cineplex nabbing more of its box office from 3D product compared with the prior-year period as the exhibitor continues to build out its premium ticket options for moviegoers. The Canadian chain signed a recent deal for three Barco Escape auditoriums to open in Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton.

Cineplex also has Doctor Strange playing in its first 4DX cinema, in Toronto, with adult tickets going for CAN$24.99 (US$18.70) for 3D screenings. The exhibitor has not yet decided where next to roll out additional 4DX screens to nab yet more premium ticket revenue.

But Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob told The Hollywood Reporter that movie-goers appreciate the experience they receive at the local multiplex that they can't replicate in their homes. "People love the environmental effects. You have the fog. You have the lightening. You feel like you're in the movie, rather than at a movie," he said of the 4DX screen experience.

And he insisted Cineplex so far has no resistance to the 4DX movie ticket pricing. "Canada has one of the cheapest movie ticket prices anywhere," Jacob said. 

Nov. 8, 1:30 p.m. Updated with comments by Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob on the financial results.