Blockbusters including The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spiderman and Comic-book adventure Avengers Assemble helped drive sales. Even so, there was a slowdown in customers. Box office admissions dropped 0.8% between January and June.
Ticket prices were pushed up 5% from £4.90 to £5.15, which helped counter-act the waning audiences; but that also came at a price. The average spend on popcorn and snacks dipped to £1.65, and overall revenue from refreshments and snacks was 2.1% lower than the previous year at £38m.
A slowdown in advertising also put a dampener on Cineworld’s results. Ad sales fell 11.7% as Euro 2012 and the Olympic Games soaked up advertising spend. But Cineworld has saved on staff costs by switching to digital projection; and investors seem broadly won over. Shares in Cineworld have risen 30% over the past year, and rose marginally to 228p after today's results.
Cineworld also became the first major cinema chain to remove online booking fees in March, which pushed up MyCineworld registrations by almost 50%. Cineworld, which has 79 cinemas and 811 screens, says expectations are high for the second half of the year, when the latest Bond film Skyfall, The Hobbit and the final instalment of Twilight are released in the final quarter. Will James Bond save the day and bring the customers flocking back to the cinema?