Vue cautions over impact of film delays due to Hollywood strikes

Cinema group Vue has warned that admissions for this year and next are set to be dampened by delays to film releases following the Hollywood writer and actor strikes.

The company also revealed that it has completed a financial restructuring, which was catalysed by the reduced supply of films amid the strikes.

Latest Companies House accounts for Vue Entertainment revealed that Europe’s largest independent cinema group saw higher admissions in the financial year to November.

But the company highlighted that SAG-AFTRA writer and actors’ strikes, which took place between July and December, threatened to impact its performance in the current 2024 financial year and the 2025 financial year.

The strikes prevented actors marketing some completed films, delaying the release of titles such Dune: Part Two, which saw its release pushed from 2023 to March this year.

Vue said in its accounts: “Although the impact of the strikes on trading in FY23 was limited to a few titles being delayed from Q4 FY23 into FY24, and even though film production resumed in early 2024, the impact of the strikes will be at their most material in 2024 and into 2025 due to a lower number of completed films being available for theatrical release.”

It added that “many films” scheduled for release in full-year 2024 were now due to be released in the 2025 financial year.

As a result, it projected that admissions across cinemas were due to be at around 80% of levels seen between 2017 and 2019, before the industry was hammered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Vue said the 2024 financial year “started strongly” on the back of releases including Wonka, Wish and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom in December, but highlighted a weaker release slate in January and February.

Dune: Part Two photo call – London
Members of the cast of Dune: Part Two, which saw its release delayed due to strikes (Yui Mok/PA)

It also cautioned that the final quarter of the year – the three months to the end of November – was “under-populated” with releases but was due to include Joker Folie A Deux.

The company also confirmed that it had completed a financial restructuring on February 20 earlier this year amid pressure from delays to the film release slate.

It said the move had increased its liquidity and borrowing capacity.

The freshly filed accounts revealed that revenues grew by 5% to £274.6 million for the year to November 2023.

It reported improved audience footfall and growing market share after a number of successful releases including Avatar: The Way Of Water, Mario, Barbie and Oppenheimer.

It also grew its pre-tax profits for the year as a result, lifting to £14.3 million for the year from £12.8 million a year earlier.