Film flops send Cineworld's profits into a spin

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The cost of going digital and a run of mediocre 3D films dragged Cineworld's profits down this year, but the company is confident that a strong slate of releases to come in the second half will see it hit its full-year targets.

The UK's largest cinema chain by market share saw operating profit fall to £13m in the six months to 30 June, down from £14.8m a year earlier, as the cost of converting screens to digital hit home. By the end of June, 494 screens had been converted, with 80 more due this year.

Cineworld said that while more than a dozen 3D films were released in the first six months of 2010, none was as popular as Avatar or Alice In Wonderland. Admissions for 3D films fell from 20 per cent a year earlier to 16 per cent, yet group revenues rose 1 per cent to £164m as wider admissions rose 2.2 per cent. Stephen Wiener, the chief executive, said he was confident of "delivering further value to shareholders" over the full year, and pointed to new movies including The Adventures Of Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn, Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.