March 1, 2010 / 10:39 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-Carmike Cinemas swings to Q4 profit

* Q4 shr from cont ops $0.48

* Q4 rev up 17 pct to $137.4 mln

* Shares up nearly 5 pct in after market trade

March 1 (Reuters) - Digital cinema exhibitor Carmike Cinemas Inc CKEC.O swung to a fourth-quarter profit, as blockbuster movies such as “Avatar” drove theatre attendance.

Total attendance for the fourth quarter was up 12 percent at 13.5 million, while box office receipts saw a 20 percent increase, the company said.

“Fourth quarter was a record-setting quarter for the industry domestically, with nine films grossing in excess of $100 million, capping off a very good year for U.S. cinema as movies generated receipts in excess of $10 billion for the first time in history,” Chief Executive David Passman said.

Carmike Cinemas, which also screens 3-D pictures, said “Avatar” attracted a number of people who were watching a 3-D movie for the first time.

A 16 percent drop in total operating costs and expenses also contributed to the company’s strong quarterly performance.

For the fourth quarter, net income available for common stockholders was $6.1 million, or 48 cents a share, compared with a loss of $34.6 million, or $2.73 per share in the year-ago period.

Analysts on average had anticipated a profit of 9 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 17 percent to $137.4 million, while the consensus revenue estimate was $126.2 million.

Carmike shares were up nearly 5 percent at $9.96 in trading after the bell. They closed at $9.50 Monday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Deepti Govind in Bangalore; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)

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