Cineplex profit jumps on higher attendance, more concession revenue - Canadanewsmedia
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Cineplex profit jumps on higher attendance, more concession revenue

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A trio of superhero movies, increasing audience numbers and a focus on concession stand offerings helped Cineplex Inc. report a record revenue in its second quarter.

The Toronto-based entertainment giant said Friday that the strong box office performance of Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2 and The Incredibles 2 contributed to all-time high revenues of $409.1 million for the quarter ended June 30, up about 12 per cent from the year before when it made $364.1 million.

The company's net income also jumped significantly, increasing 1,670 per cent to $24.4 million, or 38 cents a share, this quarter from $1.4 million last year.

Analysts had estimated $414 million of revenue and 24 cents per share of net income, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

"Cineplex reported record second quarter results including increases in revenue across all reportable segments," president and CEO Ellis Jacob said in a statement

"In addition to growing our revenue sources, we continue to focus on optimizing our cost structure across our ecosystem, having implemented a cost reduction program during the second quarter with the expectation of realizing annualized cost savings of $25.0 million by the end of the year."

The company announced in April that it would lay off "a number of" full-time workers to eliminate duplicate roles following several business acquisitions.

The layoff came as Cineplex has been focused on minimizing the unpredictability of the box office and competing with the popularity of on-demand streaming services by putting attention on its signage business and expanding gaming and restaurant brands it operates, including the Rec Room, Playdium and forthcoming virtual sports complexes TopGolf.

It's also looking at food as a way to nab more customers. In June, Cineplex partnered with Uber Eats to launch a popcorn and snack delivery program in 60 communities throughout Ontario, Alberta, B.C. and Quebec in June and also toyed with expanding concession stand offerings and alcohol in some markets.

On Friday, Cineplex reported that concession revenue per patron rose 9.3 per cent to $6.59.

Box office revenue per patron also climbed 4.4 per cent to $10.82 and attendance rose by 5 per cent to 17.3 million from 16.5 million.

Cineplex said 24 per cent of its box office revenues were attributable to Avengers: Infinity War. Deadpool 2 represented 11.3 per cent, Incredibles 2 9.6 per cent, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom 6.8 per cent and Solo: A Star Wars Story 6 per cent of box office revenues.

Cineplex shares were ahead by 1.9 per cent in morning trading Friday on the TSX, climbing to $30.86

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Musk Defends Relentless Work Hours as Tesla Enters Fateful Week

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Several anti-pipeline protesters released from BC jail days before week-long sentences end

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Several pipeline protesters were released from a British Columbia jail on Sunday, a few days before their week-long sentences were set to end.

Seven protesters in all were sentenced to a week-long jail term on Aug. 15, after pleading guilty to contempt charges in B.C. Supreme Court.

Five who were released on Sunday issued a joint statement, saying they were imprisoned because of their opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

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In the statement, the five women – who include anti-poverty activist and Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson – said they are not criminals, but “political prisoners.”

Swanson said in a phone interview that her four days spent at the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women in Maple Ridge, B.C., had not deterred her in what she said is a fight against climate change.

“I don’t know how anyone can look at the sky in Vancouver today and say global warming is not an issue,” said Swanson, in reference to the smoke and particulate matter from wildfires hazing the skies in southwestern B.C.

“We need to do something, we need to stop the insanity.”

From her perspective as an anti-poverty advocate, Swanson said the Trans Mountain pipeline ties the issues of homelessness, poverty and climate change together.

“For all those billions and billions of dollars, governments could actually create jobs building renewable energy…. Governments could end homelessness, they could put clean and safe water on Indigenous reserves.”

In May, the federal government announced its intent to acquire Trans Mountain from Kinder Morgan Canada.

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According to recent documents filed with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission, the sale could cost as much as $1.9-billion more than the initial quote of $4.5-billion.

The documents also suggest the project could take another 12 months to finish.

More than 200 activists have been arrested for demonstrations against the Trans Mountain project since March.

Those released on Sunday also included former B.C. Teachers’ Federation president Susan Lambert.

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Online pot sales will leave a lot of information at risk, say experts

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TORONTO — Buyers who have to provide personal information to purchase recreational pot online after legalization this fall should be able to rely on existing laws to protect their privacy but the issue needs to be watched closely to ensure regulations are obeyed and mistakes are avoided, experts say.

The matter is important given the stigma many people still attach to marijuana use, and the potential for Canadians to be barred from the United States if their otherwise legal indulgence becomes known to American border agents.

“We need to keep eyes on it, meaning we have to make sure this information is not abused or used for secondary purposes that were never intended,” Ann Cavoukian, Ontario’s former privacy commissioner and now an expert at Ryerson University, said in an interview. “Theoretically, it should not be used for any other purpose.”

A spokesperson for federal Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien said the office had not looked specifically at online marijuana sales. At the same time, the commission said it recognized privacy concerns around buying or using marijuana given its longtime status as a controlled substance.

“The legal sale and use of both medicinal and recreational marijuana raises privacy issues, particularly since laws and regulations differ from country to country and even within countries,” Tobi Cohen said. “We have repeatedly raised concerns about the effectiveness of (Canada’s two privacy laws) in the digital age and have called for both laws to be strengthened.”

Last week, Ontario’s new Progressive Conservative government announced that consumers 19 years or older will have to go online to buy weed after legalization federally on Oct. 17 because private retail stores won’t be up and running until April. A government agency called the Ontario Cannabis Store will run the online sales, although private e-commerce provider Shopify will be involved.

Online buyers will, at minimum, have to provide a name along with email and delivery address, and payment information. In Ontario, as is currently the case with online alcohol sales, buyers will be able to order as a “guest” without creating an online account.

However, Scott Blodgett, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance, said buyers will have to provide proof of age via government-issued ID, which a delivery person will verify but not copy. The cannabis store website will have data security and privacy controls “aligned with global e-commerce best practice,” he said.

Personal data will remain in Canada and not be shared with third parties, Blodgett said.

Ontario’s Privacy Commissioner Brian Beamish was unavailable to discuss the issue but his office said in a statement that public institutions are accountable for the information they collect.

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