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Cineplex saw 91% fewer moviegoers this summer, sales drop 85%

Last Updated Nov 13, 2020 at 12:34 pm EST

Cineplex employees serve customers popcorn and other snacks behind a plastic barrier at a Cineplex theatre in downtown Toronto on Aug. 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Cineplex says its sales this summer were more than 85 per cent lower than summer 2019, as the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to a 91 per cent drop in movie-goers.

The Toronto-based theater chain says it ended the third quarter with a net loss of $121.2 million, or $1.91 per share, whereas this time last year, Cineplex had turned a profit of $13.4 million, or 21 cents per share.

The company says it had revenue of $61 million in the three months ending Sept. 30, down from $418.4 million during the same period in 2019.

Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv expected Cineplex to lose $57.3 million, or $1.31 per share, on revenue of nearly $75.2 million.

Cineplex re-opened its full chain of theaters with limited show times and seating on Aug. 21, but was able to draw only 1.6 million people to theaters during the quarter, down from 17.5 million last summer, even with the release of the much-anticipated movie, Tenet.

The company, which is still awaiting trial over a broken deal to buy Cineworld, says it has raised an extra $303 million in credit, reduced costs on leases by $58 million and received about $22.5 million in wage subsidies.