Wall Street may have expected a little too much of the exhibition chain for the last three months of 2012. It reports net income of $27.8M, +52.3% vs the end of 2011, on revenues of $611.5M, +14.1%. Pretty good, right? But analysts expected revenues to come in higher, at $616.7M. And a pre-tax loss of $5.6M for early debt retirement held earnings to 24 cents a share, shy of forecasts for 38 cents. Attendance at the U.S. theaters was up 10.3% to 40.6M, while the average ticket price rose 5.2% to $6.91, and concessions revenues per patron was up 4% to $3.39. That propelled U.S. revenues 15.5% to $435.4M. Sales at the international theaters was up 10.8% to $178.8M. CEO Tim Warner notes that Cinemark “continues to be the number one attended worldwide exhibitor.” He told analysts that he’s “encouraged” about the releases scheduled for 2013 — including 32 wide-release 3D films. But the current quarter’s results may be “challenging” compared to the sales records set last February and March.
UPDATE, 6:40 AM: CEO Alan Stock made his comment in a conference call with analysts who asked what he’d do if Sony continues with its plan to stop paying for 3D glasses — leaving it to exhibitors to manage the expense. ”We think the way the glasses model works in the U.S. is a great way to work it,” he said. He added that there’s still a lot of time to negotiate before next summer, when Sony wants the change to take place. “I’m pretty confident we can work out a solution,” Stock says. “If we can’t, we’ll have to head in a different direction.” Regarding Universal’s plan, which it canceled, to show Tower Heist on cable VOD just three weeks after opening in theaters, Stock says the studio “thought they had something the exhibitors would comply with.” After Cinemark threatened to boycott the film, “there hasn’t been any further discussion of that particular test, or anything else they’re working on.”