January 8, 2013 4:52 pm

Shaken Cineworld revenue stirred by 007

Daniel Craig stars as James Bond in 'Skyfall'

Daniel Craig stars as James Bond in 'Skyfall'

James Bond helped save Cineworld from a lacklustre year at the box office after Skyfall attracted record numbers of film-goers to the cinema chain in the fourth quarter.

Cineworld reported on Tuesday that revenues increased 2.4 per cent for the year to December 2012, helping the group maintain its 25 per cent share of the UK cinema market. Strong performances from The Hobbit and the final Twilight film also helped.

Philip Bowcock, Cineworld’s chief financial officer, said Skyfall, the 23rd film in the Bond series, caused revenue to surge in the fourth quarter and offset poor trading over the summer.

“We had our best ever week as a business when Bond opened,” Mr Bowcock said.

Skyfall has to date earned more than £100m in the UK and is the highest grossing film in the history of UK and Ireland cinema. Its release followed a gloomy summer for the sector, as Britons were distracted by televised events such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the European Football Championship and the London Olympics.

Cineworld said 2012 revenues were boosted by higher ticket prices, which rose 5 per cent from the prior year and compensated for a 1.1 per cent decline in admissions. The results exclude Picturehouse, the independent cinema chain that Cineworld acquired for £47.3m in December.

Gross box office takings for the whole UK cinema industry increased by 2.8 per cent in 2012, according to Rentrak/EDI.

While 2013 is not expected to contain as many blockbusters as 2012, the year will see a number of high profile sequels including Iron Man, Star Trek and The Hunger Games.

Mr Bowcock said that while he expected admissions would be broadly flat in 2013. Cineworld would be able to increase its profitability.

Cineworld shares were down 1.5 per cent to 268.25p by mid-afternoon on Tuesday.

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