Cineworld complex to sell for €20m
THE country's busiest movie theatre -- Dublin's 17-screen 3,360-seat Cineworld on Parnell Street -- is to change hands for €20m.
With 1.4m admissions last year, the cinema is in the top five most popular film venues in Britain and Ireland.
It is owned by two groups of Irish investors, who are now selling it to a British leisure company.
Estate agent Jones Lang LaSalle fixed a guide price of €24m, saying it had an income of €1.9m a year.
It is let to Adelphi Carlton Ltd, an Irish subsidiary of the British company Cineworld Group Plc.
Among the major attractions at the complex is the IMAX, which recently attracted huge audiences for the smash hit Gravity.
Opened in December 2012, IMAX offers an immersive experience and features digital projection and a curved screen spanning from floor to ceiling and wall to wall.
The first film to be shown on the giant screen was The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Cinema investments are attractive as admissions remain relatively steady during economic downturns.
However, audience figures in Ireland have been affected by emigration.
The biggest cinema-goers are those aged between 18 and 35, the age group most likely to emigrate.
Adults in this bracket go to the cinema twice as much as the national average.
The Parnell Street venue opened as Virgin Cinemas in the late 1990s and later traded as UGC, before its current incarnation.
The two consortia which own Cineworld consist of around 22 investors. Overall, cinema admissions have fallen from a record high of 18.4m in 2007 to just over 16m in 2012, when the James Bond film Skyfall was the highest grossing movie in the Republic, raking in €5.95m.
Dublin City Council last month granted permission to change the use of the Parnell Street property's basement level from retail to leisure.
The application was made by the Nightmare Realm Ltd, which specialises in Halloween-themed entertainment using high-quality props, prosthetics and effects.