Strong growth in the US offsets slower UK box office at Cineworld

Cineworld’s US business helped to offset sluggish growth in the UK in the year so far as the cinema giant posted a rise in revenue.

Total group revenue was 11.6% higher between January 1 and November 11, with a string of popular film releases bringing customers to the cinema.

The group completed its acquisition of American chain Regal in March.

The merger made Cineworld the second-largest cinema company in the world by number of screens, and expanded its footprint in the US which now accounts for 75% of revenue.

  • 9,526 screens
  • 789 cinemas

In its financial statements, Cineworld calculated performance as though Regal had been part of the company since January 1 2017 to show underlying growth.

Comparative figures are therefore based on the combined performance of Cineworld and Regal in 2017.

Box office revenue was 12.4% higher in the US, supported by the success of Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War.

Cineworld said management was still reviewing further opportunities for cost benefits from the merger.

In the UK, box office sales climbed by 1.4%, lagging the market slightly.

Growth in mainland Europe was also slow at 1.2% compared with a record-breaking year in 2017.

The group said it expects full-year results to be in line with current estimates as it looks ahead to the important Christmas period.

Releases such as Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald and Mary Poppins Returns are expected to perform well in December, but cinemas might struggle to match last year when Star Wars: The Last Jedi hit the screens.

Cineworld has 9,526 screens across 789 cinemas, following the opening of four new sites so far in the second half.