Lack of blockbusters to blame for weak audience numbers, says Cineworld

Lack of blockbusters to blame for weak audience numbers, says Cineworld
Lack of blockbusters to blame for weak audience numbers, says Cineworld

Arabnews24.ca:Wednesday 17 August 2022 11:08 AM: A lack of blockbuster movies has hit audience numbers and would likely to continue until November, Cineworld has warned.

The UK-based international cinema chain said it was now looking at options to bolsters its finances.

The group, which also owns the Picturehouse chain in the UK and Regal Cinemas in the US, had pinned its hopes on big-budget releases such as Top Gun: Maverick, The Batman and Thor: Love And Thunder to aid its recovery from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But in a statement the firm said: "Despite a gradual recovery of demand since reopening in April 2021, recent admission levels have been below expectations.

"These lower levels of admissions are due to a limited film slate that is anticipated to continue until November 2022 and are expected to negatively impact trading and the group's liquidity position in the near term."

Cineworld said it will continue with cost-saving plans but will also look at new options to improve its financial position.

The business, which was saddled with £4bn of debt at the end of the last financial year, said it is in talks with stakeholders over potential funding or considering restructuring its balance sheet.

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Liberum analyst James Wheatcroft said its heavy debt burden means a balance sheet restructuring will "likely leave little for existing Cineworld shareholders".

Cineworld said: "The group's business operations are expected to remain unaffected by these efforts and Cineworld expects to continue to meet its ongoing business counterparty obligations.

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"Cineworld continues to welcome guests to its cinemas across its global markets as normal, without disruption."

The company has also been dogged over the past year by separate legal disputes.

In September, the London-listed business struck an agreement to pay £141m to disgruntled Regal shareholders who were frustrated with the price it purchased the US cinema chain, although it has subsequently sought to delay some payments.

Meanwhile, in December it was ordered to pay £720m by a court after it decided not to go through with a takeover of Canadian rival Cineplex as the pandemic broke out.

Chief executive Mooky Greidinger appealed against the court ruling and claimed the company acted in "good faith".

Cineworld shares were down more than 50% during trading on Wednesday.

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