“There are real grounds for optimism in our industry,” Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger beamed today as the world’s second largest exhibitor issued a trading update. The company reached “an important milestone” in its recovery, generating positive cash flow in October, it said in the statement. Although it didn’t get into exact figures, Cineworld did report significant improvement in box office and concession revenue for the four months ended October 31 2021 — in some cases reaching or exceeding 2019 levels.
In October, group box office and concession sales were at 90% of 2019 after steadily rising across the summer months. Cineworld’s Regal chain in the U.S. went from 45% of 2019’s business in July and August to 54% in September and 80% in October. With MGM/Eon/Universal’s No Time To Die setting new records in the UK, Cineworld’s October revenue there blew past 2019, repping 127% of the comparable period.
Cineworld operates in 10 countries with 752 sites and 9,193 screens. Its rest of world performance was 79% of 2019 levels in July, 70% in August, 78% in September and 84% in October.
The company cited discipline on costs as underpinning the recovery as it has been focused on streamlining operations wherever possible. However, there have been some inflationary cost increases, the exhibition circuit allowed.
The recovery has been driven by a strong slate of films including Black Widow, Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Dune and No Time To Die (which just crossed $700M global and is now the biggest movie of the pandemic era internationally at over $558M).
There are still major titles to be released in 2021 including Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Encanto, Spider-Man: No Way Home, The King’s Man, Sing 2 and The Matrix Resurrections.
Said Greidinger, “We are thrilled to see audiences returning in significant numbers. Our partnerships with the studios are as strong as ever and with the incredible movie slate to come, there are real grounds for optimism in our industry.”
He also highlighted “the great performances we saw from our newly refurbished cinemas in the U.S. These new cinemas clearly support our strategy to enhance the cinema experience for all our customers. I am really proud of the extraordinary efforts that everybody in the business has made to manage this company during an unprecedented time. Whilst there are challenges ahead, I believe these efforts have positioned us for great success in the future and we are all looking forward to continuing to welcome our customers to the best place to watch a movie.”