Cineplex offers discounts as box-office falters

TORONTO — Hollywood’s cruel summer of box-office flops has Cineplex hoping to reel in elusive audiences with a cheap movie ticket offer.

Canada’s largest movie theatre company says it’s putting into effect Tuesday discount pricing for all screenings running from Friday to Aug. 31.

Patrons can expect a 30 per cent ticket discount on those days, Cineplex said, with Scene members receiving an additional 10 per cent savings.

It’s an unusual move during a period that’s often considered the victory lap after months of huge blockbusters — except this season massive hits were almost non-existent.

The North American summer box-office was off about 13 per cent to $3.63 billion as of Aug. 23, helping to drag down the year’s box-office tally by 5.4 per cent, according to comScore senior analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

Earlier this month, Cineplex (TSX:CGX) joined several U.S. chains in announcing weaker profits as fewer people filled theatres.

Even though “Wonder Woman” and “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” delivered strong results, the number of box-office failures easily outshines the successes.

Among the duds, Tom Cruise’s “The Mummy” and “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” both disappointed on opening weekend, while huge franchises like ”Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Planet of the Apes” showed signs of running out of steam.

Without the hits, Cineplex feels the sting on its box-office revenue and at concession stands where hungry moviegoers shell out for marked-up popcorn and drinks. Food purchases are especially important to exhibitors because movie ticket sales go almost entirely to the studios.

For the first time this summer, Cineplex offered a pass that allowed customers to buy a bulk number of tickets at a cheaper price.

Any shimmer of hope that August would save the season was quickly dashed when “The Dark Tower” stumbled out of the gate with $19.2 million its first weekend. It’s a mere fraction of the $132 million opening of “Suicide Squad” at the same time last summer.

“We haven’t really had anything of any consequence,” said Raymond James analyst Kenric Tyghe. “There’s literally been nothing to see.”

While some observers have pegged the decline to a growing popularity of low-cost streaming services like Netflix and CraveTV, not everyone is convinced that the notoriously volatile box-office won’t pick up again in a few weeks.

“In September the tables turn,” Tyghe suggested, pointing to Stephen King’s “It” remake, which is currently projected to break box-office records next month.

Other hyped titles like “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” and “The Lego Ninjago Movie” could give another jolt of life to the industry.

But until then, Cineplex is siding with discounts to contend with another weekend of slim pickings.

“The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” last week’s No. 1 film, is expected to hold the top spot while an expansion of indie thriller “Wind River” and a re-release of 1991 Arnold Schwarzenegger flick “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” in 3D round out the highlights.

Saturday night’s hyped pay-per-view fight between UFC fighter Conor McGregor and boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. is also expected to take a bite out of box-office receipts.

Just Posted

Relatives of murdered family critical of killers’ sentences

Open letter to sentencing judge criticizes ruling allowing killers to apply for parole in 25 years

City rolling out Green Carts

Green Carts used for organics, such as yard waste, food scraps and pet waste

New teaching standards applauded

New code of standards affecting teachers, principals and superintendents to kick in Sept. 1, 2019

UPDATED: Agriculture minister speaks to cattle producers

2018 Alberta Beef Industry Conference underway in Red Deer

Updated: Red Deer gets WHL Bantam Draft and Awards Banquet

WHL will holds its draft and awards ceremony in Red Deer for next three years

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Twenty years later, figure skating’s most famous backflip remains amazing (and illegal)

Figure skating involves spins, jumps, twizzles and a whole host of other… Continue reading

You don’t need to chop like a TV chef to get the job done

Standing in line at the emergency room, makeshift bandage around my finger,… Continue reading

Seychelles swaps debt for groundbreaking marine protection

CURIEUSE ISLAND, Seychelles — With deep blue waters, white sand beaches and… Continue reading

Trump endorses raising minimum age to 21 for more weapons

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump endorsed stricter gun-control measures Thursday, including raising… Continue reading

Red Deer blood clinic in need of 600 donors

Aunt encourages Central Albertans to donate blood after losing nephew

Court considers banning diesel cars in German cities

BERLIN — A German court began considering Thursday whether authorities should ban… Continue reading

US women beat Canada in Olympic hockey; Gisin tops Shiffrin

PYEONGCHANG, Korea, Republic Of — A tense shootout, a dazzling deke and… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month