Mixed year-to-date results put down to a lack of major 3D releases.

UK exhibitor Cineworld’s box office market share has risen to 24.8% despite a 8.9% drop in total revenues for the equivalent period last year, according to interim results released today.

The fall is in line with the cinema industry in UK and Ireland with box office revenues down 9.5% as a whole (EDI/Rentrak), predominantly put down to a relative lack of major 3D releases, with the same period last year benefiting from the major successes of Avatar and Alice In Wonderland.

Although Cineworld’s box office market share rose to 24.8% from 24.1% last year, overall admissions were down 6.1% resulting in a 7.8% box office drop for the 19 weeks to May 12. Despite the success of the likes of The King’s Speech and Black Swan, retail revenues also fell 9.9% as they attracted a higher number of older customers who spend less on food and drink on average.

However a stronger line up of films for the remainder of the first half of the year, including Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Strange Tides and The Hangover: Part II, combined with a quieter comparative trading period in June 2010 as a result of the World Cup, means Cineworld expects revenues for the half year to be at a similar level to last year.

Looking into the second half of the year, Cineworld also expects to post growth for the year as a whole in line with market expectations thanks to a raft of strong 3D product, including the final Harry Potter and the third Transformers film, and attractive 2D prospects such as the latest Twilight instalment and the fourth Mission Impossible.