TORONTO – Nasty winter weather and a slate of movies that didn’t appeal to Canadian audiences left Cineplex Inc. profits falling 42.5 per cent in the first quarter.
Chief executive Ellis Jacob said that while several films struck box-office gold in the United States, their niche-market appeal didn’t translate to Canada.
On that list was the Mark Wahlberg movie Lone Survivor, a film about the war in Afghanistan, the Kevin Hart comedy Ride Along and the faith-based drama Son of God, all of which delivered below expectations in Canada.
Making matters worse during the quarter were bad weather conditions that caused power outages and forced theatres to close.
“The weather, especially in the Atlantic provinces – we really got hit with that,” Jacob said in an interview.
“Their box-office was down quite significantly.”
Overall, net profits were $5.1 million or eights cents per share for the three months ended March 31. That compared to $8.8 million, or 14 cents per share in the comparable period last year.
However, revenues increased 12.9 per cent to $280 million, mainly due to the acquisition of 24 Empire theatres and digital media company EK3 Technologies Inc. in 2013.
The theatre chain says its box office revenue was up 7.6 per cent to $156.2 million, compared with $145.2 million year-over-year.
Despite more empty seats, Cineplex said it will still increase its dividend by 4.2 per cent to $1.50 per share annually.
© The Canadian Press, 2014