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Cineworld boosted by Star Wars and Beauty and the Beast

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi has taken more than £73m at UK and Irish box offices

Blockbusters such as Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Beauty and the Beast, and Dunkirk helped to boost sales and profits at Cineworld last year.

The world’s second-largest cinema chain said sales rose by 12% to £890.7m, with profits up 23% to £120.5m.

Cineworld expanded last year when it bought US cinema chain Regal.

The group now has 9,500 screens across 10 countries, including the US, which is the most profitable cinema market globally.

Chief executive Mooky Greidinger said in a statement: “The US is the biggest cinema market in the world and we are confident that this transformative acquisition will be a great success.”

Cineworld’s results showed sales of refreshments and other items accounted for 24% of revenue, rising by 11% to £220.4m.

That was faster than growth in ticket sales, which grew 6.4% to £553.7m.

Revenues at its screens in the UK and Ireland rose 6.2% to £525m.

Cineworld said it was expecting the strong run to continue into this year, with films such as Solo: A Star Wars Story, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and Mary Poppins Returns coming up.

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