Canadian motion picture theatres continued to entertain more movie-goers in 2008, the latest year for which numbers are available, according to numbers published by Statistics Canada today.

Cinemas, including indoor theatres, drive-ins and film festivals, sold 106.4 million tickets in 2008, up 1.8% from 104.5 million in 2007 and 102.9 million in 2006.

StasCan reports that although attendance was up in 2008, operating profits fell 11.4% to $132.6 million from $149.8 million in 2007, due to higher operating expenses. Total operating revenues of about $1.4 billion were up 3.0% from 2007, however, Operating expenses increased by 4.8%.

The top chain-operated theatres, ranked on the basis of operating revenues, dominated the industry in terms of revenues, expenses and profit but also in terms of admission receipts, concession sales and attendance.

These large theatre chains represented 83% of the total national operating revenue in 2008, virtually unchanged from 2007. Operating revenues for the large theatre chains edged up 3.5% from 2007 surpassing the 0.4% increase of the rest of the industry.

Expenses increased at about the same rate as revenues, up 3.4%, for the large theatre chains. As a result, their operating profit margins remained fairly stable at 11.4% well above the 1.6% posted by the rest of the industry.

Box office sales (admission receipts) from the large theatre chains reached $706.5 million, a 2.4% increase from a year earlier. Revenues from the sale of food and beverages followed a similar pattern. The large theatre chains saw a 5.2% rise in concession receipts from 2007 to 2008. Attendance levels for the large theatre chains reached 88.5 million, up from 86.7 million in 2007.

The largest expense reported by the surveyed theatres was film rental and royalty payments which represented 35.3% of total operating expenses. Film rental costs and royalty payments increased by 4.2% from 2007.

For more details see the StatsCan site here

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