Oscars success saw film-lovers flock to Cineworld’s cinemas to see resuscitated screenings of Gravity and 12 Years a Slave.
Philip Bowcock, finance director of the UK’s biggest cinema chain, said last weekend’s Oscars ceremony had helped this year begin "encouragingly".
He added: "12 Years A Slave has done very well, and we’re doing repeat showings of Gravity, which was released last Autumn, because you get more demand after the Oscars. The Wolf of Wall Street has also been unexpectedly popular."
Bowcock is running Cineworld after chief executive Steve Wiener retired earlier this month.
The new chief executive is Mooky Greidinger, current boss of Polish rival Cinema City International, which Cineworld bought for £500 million earlier this year.
Fees from that deal are one reason Cineworld’s pre-tax profit last year fell 20 per cent to £30.9 million. But revenues rose 13 per cent to £406.1 million, and Bowcock said this year that the latest episodes of the Hunger Games and Hobbit trilogy would bring in the most bums to its seats.
In a positive sign for the economy, the popcorn index of discretionary spending inched up, with average retail spend per movie-goer hitting £1.83 in 2013, up from £1.73 a year earlier.
"We’ve opened some Starbucks in cinemas, and that’s had an impact,” Bowcock said. “Some branches are even opening at 7am just for coffees."Reuse content