Boosted by the success of blockbusters such as Mamma Mia! The Movie and The Dark Knight, UK cinema chain Cineworld has reported a revenue increase of 4.4 % year on year and a box office increase of 6.4%
The cinema chain enjoyed a successful year with the benefit of a strong release schedule, which included Quantum of Solace, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Skull and Hancock.
The strength of the 2008 releases helped to reduce the impact of the change of release date for Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince. which was moved from quarter four 2008 to summer 2009.
James Bird, policy executive at the Cinema Exhibitor's Association said '2008 has been a strong year for cinema attendance. Traditionally cinema holds up well during an economic downturn and this last year has been no exception as audiences took advantage of affordable and escapist entertainment.
'Combined with the sheer quality and range of films and unpredictable weather in the UK t his summer, we saw the highest summer admissions to UK cinemas since 1969. When the final figures come through we expect cinema admissions for 2008 to have reached 167 million, up 2.5% year on year.'
Cineworld also upped its ticket prices by 6% in the year. The average ticket price in 2008 was $6.50 (£4.34), whereas the 2007 average was $6.12 (£4.09).
Last year's popular titles also mitigated the effect of second half cost increases, which mainly related to utility costs such as gas and electricity.
Exhibitors are hoping for another successful year in 2009 with Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince and other upcoming titles including Bolt, Ice Age 3, Up, Avatar, Transformers 2, Angels and Demons and Night At The Museum 2.