Business Booms At Box Office
With analysts predicting that box-office records will be shattered for April, investors have been buying stocks in movie-theater chains -- particularly Regal Entertainment, Carmike Cinemas, and Cinemark Holdings, Businessweek magazine reported on its website Wednesday, with Regal's stock price up 42 percent over the past three months; Carmike's, 30 percent; and Cinemark's, 25 percent. Northlake Capital Management President Steve Birenberg told the magazine "People have assumed for years that home theater and DVDs were killing off the business. ... Now we're seeing that's not true and it's much more stable and sustainable than investors thought." Noting that during the first two weeks of April ticket sales have soared (up 61 percent during the Easter weekend), Piper Jaffray analyst James Marsh told Businessweek "These are really strong numbers, especially when you don't see a real blockbuster in there." The magazine observed that theater owners could see additional profits if they were able to upgrade to digital 3D, but they have been stymied by the current credit crunch.