Cineworld eyes boost from '4D'

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CineworldThe UK's largest cinema operator warned Euro 2012 and the London Olympics will present challenges this year, but said a strong line up of sequels and new "4D" seats should offer support to the business.

Cineworld, which has 79 cinemas and 811 screens, said it is to trial D-box seats, which shake and move according to the action in the film, at its Glasgow venue.

The group, which has a 24.6% market share in the UK and Ireland, has experimented with new formats including super-size Imax screens and an upmarket cinema concept called The Screening Rooms, recently tested in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

Looking ahead, Cineworld hopes blockbusters such as Batman instalment The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spiderman and Lord of the Rings prequel The Hobbit will pull in enough customers to offset the loss of trade to this summer's major sporting events.

Cineworld reported a 10% rise in pre-tax profits in the year to December 29 to £33.4 million, but revenues only edged up 1.5% to £348 million in the period.

Anthony Bloom, Cineworld chairman, said: "We have made a sound start to the new financial year and while the forthcoming European football championship and London Olympics present further challenges, there is a strong line up of films to support the rest of the year."

The group said it remained "committed" to expansion in 2012 after opening a new seven-screen cinema in Leigh, in Greater Manchester, while the conversion of all its screens to digital formats is expected to be completed this summer.

The company's primary income comes from the box office, which saw a 2.7% rise in sales to £242.1 million, while the average ticket price increased marginally by 0.4% to £5.01.

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