Boutique cinema chain Everyman Media Group has recorded a jump in ticket sales and returned to an operating profit, despite pandemic delays leading to fewer blockbuster film releases in 2022.
The chain, which operates 38 venues across the UK, said its cinema admissions surged to 3.4 million last year from two million in 2021.
Appetite for film remains “undiminished”, it said, fuelled by visits to see new Avatar and Top Gun films, which became the third and 12th highest grossing films of all time, respectively.
It is despite a reduction in the number of blockbuster films released last year, as production was delayed during the pandemic.
“We expect the number of larger releases to return to near pre-pandemic levels in 2023.”
Total box office revenues across the UK and Ireland increased by nearly two thirds in 2022 against 2021, which had been impacted by several months of Covid restrictions.
The business returned to an operating profit of £402,000 during the year, from a loss of £2.2 million the prior year.
It also saw its revenues surge to £78.8 million from £49 million, helped by a jump in the amount paid for the average ticket and food and drink spending.
Everyman, which runs theatre-style cinemas where people can order meals and drinks to take to their seat, said adding new dishes to the menu, such as burger specials and a vegan range, helped drive spending.
It opened two new cinemas last year, in Edinburgh and Egham, and is set to open six new venues in 2023 – in Durham, Salisbury, Northallerton, Plymouth, Marlow and Bury St Edmunds.
There is also an “exciting” pipeline of opportunities for 2024 and 2025, with six new venues expected to open in both years.
The firm said it was looking to the year ahead with “cautious optimism”.
It added: “We remain an affordable treat for our customers, and with film production back up at pace and the number of larger releases returning to pre-pandemic levels, we are confident that customers will return to our venues in greater numbers.”