James Bond the hero for Cineworld

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James Bond came to the rescue of Cineworld yesterday after new figures showed the release of Skyfall helped drive a turnaround in revenues during last year.

The cinema chain said sales were up 2.4 per cent in the year to December 27, offsetting a 1.4 per cent decline in the summer as film fans stayed at home to enjoy one-off events such as the Diamond Jubilee, Euro 2012 and London Olympics.

As well as Skyfall, which has now taken £100m at the box office, vampire hit Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn and The Hobbit helped narrow a decline in Cineworld admissions to 1.1 per cent, after a 4 per cent fall in the 19 weeks to November 8.

Average ticket prices rose by 5 per cent in the year, with an improvement in spend per head also helping Cineworld offset the fall in the number of cinema goers.

Cineworld has 101 cinemas with 878 screens.

Wayne Brown, analyst at Canaccord Genuity, said the 2013 film slate played to Cineworld’s strengths, with a lower number of major blockbusters likely to drive greater admissions overall.