January 17, 2018 / 7:55 AM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-UK's Cineworld 2017 revenue grows as Star Wars, Dunkirk shine

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Jan 17 (Reuters) - British cinema operator Cineworld Group , which is buying U.S. peer Regal Entertainment for $3.6 billion, said total 2017 revenue grew 11.6 percent on strong box office takings for titles such as “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Dunkirk”.

Cineworld, which operates 2,217 movie screens, said group box office revenue for the year to Dec. 31 grew 10.3 percent with admissions increasing in both Britain and Ireland.

“Beauty and the Beast”, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Dunkirk” were the highest grossing films of the year in Britain.

In December, Cineworld sealed an agreement to buy larger U.S. peer Regal Entertainment Group in a deal that would create the world’s second largest movie theatre operator after industry leader AMC Entertainment.

The operator which also has screens in Poland, Hungary, Israel, Romania, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Slovakia said growth in these regions were helped by locally produced films.

Cineworld said it was “positioned well” for 2018, pinning its hopes on a strong film slate for the year with titles such as “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” and “Avengers: Infinity War” scheduled to open later in the year. (Reporting by Rahul B in Bengaluru; Editing by Adrian Croft)

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