Britons in love with Wednesday night at the movies

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The Independent Online

Saturday night has lost its title as the most popular night to go to the cinema, in the latest evidence of Britons cutting back on spending.

Cineworld's chief executive, Steve Wiener, revealed yesterday that half-price tickets available for Wednesdays have ousted Saturday night as the busiest night at the flicks. "The downturn in the economy means more people are coming on discount days, and Wednesday is now the busiest day of the week for admissions," he said.

Cineworld posted a 6.3 per cent rise in revenues between January and May. Box office sales were up 8.6 per cent, and the popcorn index of discretionary spending was up too, as moviegoers spent an extra 3.9 per cent on snacks and drink. That was on easy comparables, though, as this time last year The King's Speech was filling cinemas with older people who traditionally buy less popcorn.

"The cinema is still the cheapest form of entertainment," Mr Wiener claimed. "The Avengers has been phenomenal so we're really happy to hear that a sequel is in planning stages. In fact, sales have been so strong I hear they're planning more for later down the line."

Cineworld expects to be hit by the Olympics. "The closer you are to London, the worse it will be," Mr Wiener said. "Further away, I'm not expecting a significant impact. But the new Batman and Spiderman movies come out just before the Games so that should help."