Cinemark shareholders are waking up to a nice Friday morning surprise. While media analysts expected another loss for the final quarter of 2021, the movie-exhibitor chain was actually able to turn a (very) slight profit — its first since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Wall Street forecast Cinemark would lose 13 cents per share on $601.29 million in revenue. The company actually reported diluted earnings of 5 cents per share on $666.7 million in revenue. That revenue number resulted in a $5.7 million overall profit.
For the three months ended Dec. 31, 2021, Cinemark’s admissions revenues were $344.9 million and concession revenues were $248.1 million, driven by attendance of 48.1 million patrons. The average ticket price was $7.17, and concession revenues per patron were $5.16.
While there were still some theater closures in the fourth quarter of 2021 and a limited theatrical slate, there were some good — or at least, attractive — movies. Q4’s marquee theatrical releases included “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” “Dune,” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” “Venom 2,” “No Time to Die,” “Halloween Kills,” “Eternals” “Encanto” and “Sing 2.” “West Side Story” was also out there, but it tanked.
Unfortunately, no fourth quarter profit was going to change the trajectory of 2021. Cinemark lost $422.8 million last year. That was better than the $616.8 million it lost in 2020.
As of Dec. 31, 2021, the company’s aggregate screen count was 5,868, and Cinemark had commitments to open three new theaters and 47 screens during 2022, and nine new theaters and 70 screens beyond 2022.
Mark Zoradi stepped down as Cinemark chief at the end of 2021.
“The theatrical exhibition industry, and our company, made huge strides recovering from the ongoing effects of the pandemic throughout 2021, culminating in an exceptional fourth quarter,” Sean Gamble, Cinemark’s new president and CEO, said in prepared, written remarks accompanying his company’s financials. “During the quarter, Cinemark surpassed North American industry box office performance by more than 700 basis points when comparing results against 4Q19. Our Latin American admissions also over-indexed their corresponding industry benchmarks by a similar degree.”
“Over 48 million guests visited our Cinemark theaters in the fourth quarter, demonstrating an enduring consumer demand to experience great films in an immersive, shared, cinematic environment,” he continued. “This rebound in attendance generated positive results in cash flow from operations, net income and Adjusted EBITDA across our entire global organization for the first time since the onset of COVID-19 – all significant milestones in our recovery.”
“We are highly encouraged by recent favorable developments in the state of the virus, government restrictions and associated consumer sentiment regarding moviegoing,” Gamble concluded. “Furthermore, we are greatly looking forward to a robust slate in 2022 that includes a long list of highly anticipated franchises, as well as a broad range of diverse films, providing varied offerings for all audiences.”
Cinemark stock (CNK) closed Thursday at $17.75 per share. The U.S. stock markets reopen for the regular trading day at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Gamble and other Cinemark executives will host a conference call at 8:30 a.m. to discuss the quarter in greater detail.