Cinema takings continue to rise as drinkers desert pubs

LONDON - The big screen continues to do well in the recession as Cineworld, the UK's second-biggest chain, announced box office takings have risen 19% in the 17 weeks preceding April 17.

Cineworld's results follow figures released by the Film Distributors Association UK in March showing admissions rose 1.1% to 164.2m in 2008 with box office takings rising 3.7%.

Last years results were largely buoyed by the popularity of films like Mamma Mia and franchises like 'Batman'.

This looks to set to continue with tomorrow's UK launch of X-Men blockbuster 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine'.

Cineworld's offer will also be boosted when it launches 3-D screens in 144 of its 775 cinemas.

Upcoming 3-D films to be shown include 'Ice Age 3' and 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs'.

The rise in cinema takings comes as consumers continue to desert UK pubs and clubs.

Traditionally the leading place for consumers to spend money socialising, rising taxes and a growth in home drinking have led many pubs to struggle.

This was underlined by figures released by PRS for Music, the organisation that collects royalty payments for musicians.

It said its takings in pubs and clubs were down 2% to £39.7m for 2008 and blamed this on the recession forcing many venues out of business.

However PRS said the decline was offset by an 81% rise in online royalties to £17.6m.

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