August 9, 2018 / 6:48 AM / 2 years ago

Superhero movies power Cineworld's half-year performance

FILE PHOTO Workers repair a sign at a Cineworld cinema in Bradford northern England, March 24, 2016. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

(Reuters) - Cinema operator Cineworld Group Plc (CINE.L) posted a 10.8 percent rise in half-year revenue on Thursday as big-ticket releases such as “Avengers: Infinity War”, “Black Panther” and “Incredibles 2” boosted U.S. sales.

The second-largest cinema house in the world by screen numbers said U.S. revenue grew more than 14 percent to $1.87 billion (£23.32 million) in the first half, with the superhero movies contributing a major part of the total revenue.

Shares of the company climbed as much as 7.2 percent to an 8-month high in early trading on the London Stock Exchange.

However, UK admissions dipped 2.7 percent, while revenue edged up just 1.3 percent, as adverse weather conditions and the FIFA World Cup dragged performance.

“UK traded well despite the impact of the Football World Cup and warm weather”, Investec analysts said in a note.

Cineworld, which bets on a strategy of refurbishing and renovating old screens to use the modern viewing experiences such as IMAX and 4DX, said overall net admissions to its cinemas rose 4.9 percent to 123 million for the six months ended June 30.

“Second half of 2018 has started well”, Cineworld Chairman Anthony Bloom said, adding that the company would meet expectations for year with movies such as “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”, “Venom”, “Aquaman” and “Mary Poppins Returns” slated for release later this year.

Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri

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