Blockbuster titles help cinema group boost profits

Blockbusters including Jurassic World, The Avengers, and Inside Out helped one of the Ward family movie firms to increase its profits by over €750,000 last year.

Newly filed accounts for Irish Multiplex Cinemas Ltd, show accumulated profits increased from €7.23m to €7.99m in the 12 months to the end of last October.

The company is one of a number of cinema firms operated by the Ward family, who own the Savoy Cinema in Dublin, which plays host to many movie premieres.

The firm also has multiplex cinemas in Dun Laoghaire, Athlone, Dundalk, Killarney, and Ballymena.

The company’s coffers were boosted by the largest grossing movies of the year, including Fifty Shades of Grey, which took €2.69m at the Irish box office, Brooklyn (€2.64m), Minions (€4.25m), and the latest instalment of the James Bond franchise, Spectre (€4.5m).

The firm’s cash balance increased by €755,268 — from €1.954m to €2.7m. Numbers employed by the company last year dipped marginally from 44 to 42. The employee base was made up of 32 in operations and 10 in administration.

Accordingly, staff costs decreased from €903,573 to €811,708, while directors’ pay also dropped sharply, from €45,000 to €7,500.

A separate Ward cinema firm, Irish Multiplex Cinema Tallaght Ltd, recorded profits of €182,233 in the 12 months to the end of April this year, which reduced its accumulated losses from €1.825m €1.64m.

That firm’s cash reduced from €703,787 to €360,666. Numbers employed by this company, however, increased from 28 to 39 and staff costs rose from €496,119 to €570,606.

A note attached to the accounts states that the company had proceedings served against it in March 2015 by a supplier firm involved in the fit-out of the cinema in 2011, prior to its opening in April 2012.

The 13-screen outlet in the Square shopping centre in Tallaght reopened in 2012 after an investment of over €6m.

The note states that the demand is for the amount of €339,290, adding that the amount outstanding as per the claim is in dispute and the directors are to vigorously defend the claim.

The directors confirm that the company has agreed to engage in mediation talks in connection with the claim. These are scheduled for October of this year.

The Wards and other cinema owners here have benefited from Ireland having the highest cinema admissions per capita in the EU since records began in 1995.

The Wards and Andersons controlled about half of the Irish cinema market between them until they went their separate ways in 2013.


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