Cineplex Inc. reported a fall in earnings during the latest quarter because of a lack of blockbuster hits to draw audiences to its theatres.
The Toronto-based company reported a profit of $8.8 million during the first three months of 2013, down almost 42 per cent from a year ago when it took in $15.1 million.
The profit amounts to 14 cents per share, compared to 26 cents per share a year ago. The company also boosted its dividend from $1.35 to $1.44 annually.
Cineplex top grossing films
|2013 Q1||2012 Q1|
|1.||Oz: The Great and Powerful||The Hunger Games|
|2.||The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey||Dr. Seuss' The Lorax|
|3.||Identity Thief||Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol|
|4.||Django Unchained||The Vow|
|5.||Jack the Giant Slayer||Journey 2: The Mysterious Island|
|Source: Cineplex Inc.|
"A lack of blockbuster hits resulted in box office revenues decreasing 2.8 per cent this quarter versus the same period in 2012," said Cineplex president and CEO Ellis Jacob in a release.
Box office revenues were $145.2 million, down from $149.4 million last year. Attendance in the quarter fell 5.5 per cent — 16.2 million patrons, compared to 17.1 million a year ago.
Cineplex said the decline was due mostly to the lack of blockbuster films in the first three months of the year compared to last year. The highly anticipated film The Hunger Games was released in March 2012, breaking box office records in North America and around the world.
The company's top earner in the latest quarter was Oz: The Great and Powerful, starring James Franco, followed by the Peter Jackson-directed The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
The company also noted that during the busy March break week this year, only one of its top five films — Jack the Giant Slayer — catered to young children.
Concession revenues fell this quarter — $75.9 million, down from $77 million a year ago. But to give an idea of how big the markups are at movie theatre snack bars, Cineplex said its concession costs were $16.3 million, or just 21 per cent of revenues. The company said its concession margins worked out to $3.68 for each patron.
Cineplex's media revenue, which includes magazines and digital signage, grew 28.6 per cent this quarter, taking in $16.3 million.
The company also reported an increase in games revenue — $2.1 million this past quarter up from $1.9 million a year ago — thanks to the addition of six new gaming centres to its theatres.
Cineplex shares were virtually unchanged on the day, rising two cents to close at $34.89.
Cineplex operates 136 theatres with 1,455 screens across the country under brands that include Cineplex Odeon, SilverCity, Galaxy Cinemas, Colossus, Coliseum, Scotiabank Theatres, Cineplex Cinemas, Cineplex VIP Cinemas, Famous Players and Cinema City.