StockMarketWire.com - Cineworld warned that its full-year performance would fall short of its expectations as box office performance was hurt by the phasing of major releases and postponement of some highly-anticipated movies to 2020.

'Given the weaker full year box office, partially offset by strong execution of synergies and revenue initiatives, management expects trading for the full year to be slightly below management's expectations,' the company said.

The warning came as box office performance in period from the start of January to December was slower than the comparative period in 2018.

From 1 January to 1 December, revenue fell 9.7% with the company's US and UK segments slipping 10.9% and 9.7%, respectively, while the rest of world segment was up 0.5%.

Box office revenues, which accounted for the bulk of sales, fell 12.8%, and retail sales of food and drink for consumption within cinemas, the group's second most significant source of revenue, fell 7.4%.

During the second half of the year, five new sites, with 45 screens, were opened, two in the UK, two in the US and one in Poland, while five were closed, three in the US, one in the UK and one in the Czech Republic.

That took the total number of sites in the group as at 1 December to 786 with 9,498 screens, with three new sites expected to open before the year-end.

The integration benefits from the acquisition of Regal, meanwhile, were greater than anticipated, with estimated run-rate synergies increasing from $150m to $190m, Cineworld said.

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