Cineplex Reports Q3 Earnings, Growth of VOD Platform

Image Courtesy of Cineplex Cinemas

Cineplex, the largest cinema chain in Canada and the fourth largest in North America, has reported its Q3 results and announced a private cinema rental program in the run-up to the holiday season.

With Cineplex’s Private Movie Nights—offering auditorium reservations for up to 20 guests at a baseline price point of $125—the chain joins fellow top-five North American exhibitors AMC and Cinemark in renting auditoriums to small groups. Locations available for private rental at Cinemark will include their Rec Room and Playdium LBE (location-based entertainment) brands. 

Looking back at Q3, Cineplex reported total revenues of $61.0 million, an 85.4 percent drop compared to the same period last quarter. Q3 attendance at Cinemark theaters totaled 1.6 million. “This signals to us, as well as our studio partners, that Canadians have missed the magic of the big screen and are confident in the rigorous health and safety protocols we have put in place in our venues,” says CEO Ellis Jacob.

By August 21, Cineplex had re-opened all of its 164 cinemas—including 22 VIP Cinemas locations and 10 LBE venues—across Canada. However, restrictions levied in parts of Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba on September 30 necessitated the re-closure of select Cineplex locations. “Ongoing and potentially expanded restrictions on the reopening of Cineplex’s businesses,” reads an official statement from Cineplex, paired with a decreased number of major releases over the coming month, have “negatively impacted the timing of Cineplex’s return to profitability.”

On the subject of the upcoming studio slate—specifically, a potential shift of more films to PVOD release—Ellis argued that “the studios are really committed to the theatrical experience on all the big movies.” While he acknowledges that “there will be changes”—after the Q3 earnings call, fellow exhibitor Cinemark announced a deal with Universal, similar to AMC’s, that will see the chain adopt a shortened theatrical exclusivity window for Universal select titles—he stated that he doesn’t see those changes impacting “the big blockbuster movies that the studios have made” moving into 2021. “There will be changes in how different studios approach the movies, and during the Covid period we are always talking to them about ways that we can benefit both Cineplex and studio partners as we move forward.” 

Part of that equation, Jacobs notes, is Cineplex’s VOD platform. Called Cineplex Store, that platform “has experienced significant growth this year,” says Ellis, expanding its customer base by 41 percent to 1.8 million registered users.

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