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Business Comment

Mark Leftly: Blockbusters can help Cineworld beat Bon

Outlook One of the biggest concerns hanging over Cineworld for the rest of the year is the spectre of James Bond.

Last year, Daniel Craig's latest outing as the hard drinking, womanising superspy pretty much single-handedly rescued the second half of 2013 for cinema operators.

Although Cineworld saw pre-tax profits leap by 24 per cent to £16.5m in the first-half of 2013 on the back of blockbusters such as Les Misérables and Iron Man 3, the next six months could pale by comparison to the Skyfall-driven box office receipts brought in late last year.

Skyfall was a phenomenon, the first film to take more than £100m at British cinemas.

Cineworld's boss Steve Wiener said that he wasn't worried about how the chain will fare against that late surge last year, but conceded that "being up against a £100m movie keeps you focused".

Focus has little or nothing to do with his confidence. What are coming up are some very commercially serious-looking films: the next instalment of The Hobbit, the first of which was only the 15th film to make more than $1bn (£643m) at the box office worldwide; Thor: The Dark World, which is the latest entry of the increasingly popular Marvel universe of superhero films; and the new Hunger Games flick.

Bond is there to be beaten.