PLANO, Texas (AP) — Movie theater owner Cinemark Holdings Inc. drew upon the box-office powers of "The Avengers" and a few other popular films to deliver a 28 percent increase in its second-quarter earnings.
Cinemark announced the results Monday, less than three weeks after one of its 461 theaters was the scene of an Aurora, Colo. shooting spree that killed a dozen people and wounded injured dozens of others in an audience that had some to see the July 20 premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises."
Citing a desire to respect the victims and their families, Cinemark CEO Timothy Warner declined to address the potential business ramifications of the shootings during the company's earnings conference call.
"We would like to thank and acknowledge the endeavors of all those who acted with immense strength and bravery in assisting the victims, including patrons, our employees, the police department, the emergency-first responders and the area hospitals that treated the victims," Warner said.
The company's performance during the three months ending in June was propelled by "The Avengers," a Walt Disney Co. movie about a group of super heroes who have been featured for years in Marvel Comics.
The CEO also credited two sequels, "Madagascar 3" and "Men In Black III," along with "Snow White and the Huntsman," a different twist on the classic fairy tale, to help Cinemark boost its worldwide ticket sales by 3 percent from the same time last year.
Cinemark earned $51.4 million, or 45 cents per share, in the quarter. That compared to net income of $40.4 million, or 35 cents per share, in the same period last year. The 2011 numbers were hurt by a $4.9 million loss on a debt repayment.
The earnings in the latest quarter topped the average estimate of 37 cents per share among analysts surveyed by FactSet.
Revenue for the quarter edged up 5 percent from last year to $649.6 million — about $20 million above analyst projections.
The Plano, Texas-based company said its U.S. ticket prices rose by 3 percent from last year to an average of $6.84 during the second quarter. U.S. customers spent an average of $3.38 at the concession stands during the quarter, a 6 percent increase from last year.
Without providing a specific forecast, Warner sounded optimistic about Cinemark's prospects during the final half of the year. Beside "The Dark Knight Rises," Warner said Cinemark is pinning its third-quarter hopes on "Bourne Legacy," ''The Campaign," ''Hope Springs," and "The Expendables II."
Investors evidently aren't as enthusiastic. Cinemark shares shed 28 cents to $23.77 in afternoon trading.