The silver screen has turned to gold for Cineplex Inc., as a big boost in its luxury theatres combined with a strong slate of movies to push the largest theatre chain in Canada to a blockbuster quarter.
The company's enhanced theatres – which offer services such as valet parking and reserved seating – accounted for almost 42 per cent of box office revenue in the quarter. That's up from 36 per cent a year ago and meant the company earned an average of $9.36 per patron on its way to a $28.5-million profit, a 36 per cent boost from last year.
Revenue increased 14.4 per cent to $301-million.
It was also a record quarter at the concession stands – the average concessions per person was $4.81, beating the former record of $4.69 set earlier this year. The Toronto-based company credited a move to offer a wider variety of food and drinks to complement popcorn and soda.
A strong slate of movies also helped push patrons to the fancier theatres. While Marvel: The Avengers was the biggest draw in last year's second quarter, Cineplex said there was a broader mix this year. The Top 5 were Iron Man 3, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Man of Steel, Fast and Furious 6 and The Great Gatsby.
Cineplex also saw a 44-per-cent increase in media revenue, predominantly from a boost in pre-movie advertising. The top categories were automotive, electronics and telecommunications, all of which recorded large increases in revenue.
The company added 26 theatres in the quarter from Empire, and launched a program that allows movie goers to purchase a digital copy of the movie they are about to see when it is released to DVD. It also purchased digital sign maker EK3 Technologies Inc.