Star Wars Awakens Profit Growth At Cineworld

Customers flocking to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens and James Bond's latest outing, Spectre, have helped drive a 48% rise in annual profits at Cineworld.

The cinema chain, which now has more than 2,000 screens following the opening of 18 sites last year including 10 in the UK, said pre-tax profits for 2015 came in at £99.7m.

Cineworld credited tight control on costs but also a 13% rise in admissions for a strong line-up of new movies.

Customer numbers totalled 93.6 million and it took £312m at the box office in the UK and Ireland, which account for the bulk of group revenues.

Spectre just outperformed Star Wars in the UK, taking almost £94m compared to £87.3m, Cineworld said.

Mooky Greidinger, the chain's chief executive, said: "We are pleased to announce 2015 was another record year for the Cineworld group and its shareholders.

"Revenues continued to grow as more than 93 million customers came through our doors and enjoyed the movies we showed."

He added: "The film slate was strong with a number of blockbusters - Jurassic World, Spectre and Star Wars: The Force Awakens being the most significant."

The company said it planned to open another 13 sites across four territories in the current year and continue its UK refurbishment programme, which has seen it introduce Starbucks at 17 locations to enhance the customer experience.

Among its most recent UK sites were three 4DX screens in Milton Keynes, Crawley and Sheffield.

The technology allows cinema-goers to experience environmental effects such as seat motion, wind and scents along with the standard picture and audio.

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