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'Spider-Man: No Way Home' lifts Cineworld box office sales

Cineworld has seen gradual recovery since April helped in part by Marvel films including "Black Widow" and "Eternals"

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'Spider-Man: No Way Home' lifts Cineworld box office sales
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Cineworld's on Friday reported its December box office sales recovered to nearly 90% of pre-pandemic levels helped by the Marvel (DIS.N) superhero film "Spider-Man: No Way Home", sending its shares 3% higher in early trade.

The world's second-largest theatre operator said its cash flow turned positive in the fourth quarter after sales improved.

Movie delays hurt footfall in November, and global curbs to contain the Omicron coronavirus variant also hit demand.

Cinema operators have also been hurt by straight-to-streaming, but Cineworld has seen gradual recovery since April helped in part by Marvel films including "Black Widow" and "Eternals".

The December sales update is likely to bring some relief for Cineworld after it was ordered last month to pay C$1.23 billion ($985 million) in damages to rival Cineplex (CGX.TO) for abandoning a planned takeover, though Cineworld has appealed the decision. read more

Many of the main markets for Cineworld have refrained from stringent lockdowns, while vaccinations have also helped. The company gets 90% of its revenue from vaccine-advanced nations such as the United States, UK and Israel.

"Spider-Man: No Way Home" became the sixth-highest grossing movie ever at the U.S. box office, raking in $668 million so far and surpassing 1998 Oscar-winner "Titanic". The superhero adventure was the first pandemic-era film to top $1 billion in global sales.

Group sales for Cineworld in December stood at 88% of pre-pandemic 2019 levels, up from 56% in November.

Larger rival AMC Entertainment Holdings (AMC.N) last month said nearly 1.1 million people watched the new 'Spider-Man" film when it opened in its U.S. theatres, setting a company record.

Britain's Cineworld, which also operates U.S.-based Regal Cinemas, acknowledged challenges remain due to the pandemic but said a strong slate of 2022 releases, including "Jurassic World: Dominion" and "Top Gun: Maverick", gave it confidence.

SOURCE: REUTERS

Faisal Ali Ghumman

Mr. Ghumman is a seasoned journalist who has 19 years of diversified experience in print, electronic and digital media. He has worked with 92 News HD, Daily Pakistan Today, Daily The Business, Daily Dawn, Daily Times and Pakistan Observer as News Reporter, Feature Writer, Editor, Web Content Editor and Article Writer. Mr Ghumman has graduated from the Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan and is currently enrolled in M.Phil in Mass Communication at the University of Punjab.

World

Three-week-old baby contracts COVID-19, dies

Several countries have registered a rise in childhood infections since the spread of the Omicron variant.

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Three-week-old baby contracts COVID-19, dies

Doha: A three-week-old baby has died from COVID-19 in Qatar, the health ministry said on Sunday, reporting a rare child fatality from the illness in the Gulf country.

"A three-week-old baby has sadly died as a result of severe infection from COVID-19," the emirate's public health ministry said in a statement.

"The baby had no other known medical or hereditary conditions", and was the second child to have died in the country since the pandemic began, it added.

Child deaths from COVID-19 are infrequent but health authorities in several countries have registered a rise in childhood infections since the spread of the Omicron variant.

The Qatari ministry said youngsters have generally been less at risk of severe COVID infection than older people, but that "a greater number of children are being infected in this current wave and needing medical care than in previous waves".

Gas-rich Qatar has officially recorded almost 300,000 cases of coronavirus and around 600 deaths, from 2.6 million residents.

Cases have surged in recent weeks, and in late December Qatar's main health care provider suspended leave for all medical and administrative staff dealing with COVID-19 cases.

SOURCE: AFP

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Regional

Two colleges closed in Islamabad amid rising coronavirus cases

Six cases of COVID-19 have been reported in two colleges of Islamabad

Published by Faisal Waqas

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Two colleges closed in Islamabad amid rising coronavirus cases

Islamabad: Islamabad administration has closed two colleges after emerging coronavirus cases on Sunday. 

According to the details garnered, positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported in two colleges of the federal capital. In this regard, the Islamabad district health officer (DHO) has informed the Deputy Commissioner in a letter.

In the letter to the deputy commissioner (DC), the DHO informed that six cases of COVID-19 have been reported in two colleges. The DHO said that three Corona cases have been reported in IMCG G-6/1, while three Corona cases have also come to light in IMCG F-6/2. 

Following to the coronavirus cases, the district health officer directed to close the two colleges immediately till the next order and spray disinfectant.

The letter said that the federal administration should conduct contact tracing and testing in both the colleges, while the tests should also be conducted of close relatives to the infected female students.

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Business

President apologizes to an aged taxpayer over administrative injustice of FBR

Arif Alvi directs FBR chairman to take punitive action against entire chain of decision-makers involved in case

Published by Faisal Waqas

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President apologizes to an aged taxpayer over administrative injustice of FBR

Islamabad: President Dr Arif Alvi has apologized to an aged taxpayer over administrative injustice by the Federal Board of Revenue.

In a press release issued on Sunday, the president expressed dismay over the treatment of an 82 years old tax payer by the FBR and directed FBR chairman to take punitive action against the entire chain of decision-makers involved in the case.

He directed the Chairman of FBR to look into the entire system of irresponsibility and corruption and take punitive action against the entire chain of decision makers involved in the case.

Dr Arif Alvi took exception to the decision of FBR against a senior citizen that refused him to refund a paltry sum of 2,333 rupees on frivolous grounds and dragged him into unnecessary litigation spanning over a year. Apologizing to the senior citizen Abdul Hamid Khan, the President said that our heads should hang in shame for the inconvenience caused by FBR to the senior citizen.

Apologizing to the senior citizen Abdul Hamid Khan, the president said that their heads should hang in shame for the inconvenience caused by the FBR to a senior citizen.

The president took exception to the decision of FBR against the senior citizen in which the bureau had refused to refund a paltry sum of Rs2,333 on frivolous grounds and dragged him into unnecessary litigation spanning over a year.

“Punitive action must be taken along the entire line of decision-makers in this case and Chairman FBR should ensure that those responsible, in particular, and others, in general, go through courses to teach them priorities and courtesies, he directed.

The president while rejecting FBR’s appeal in the instant complaint observed that it appeared that unlawful treatment meted out in the instant case with a view to irritate and humiliate the aging pensioner.

Abdul Hamid Khan (the complainant), a senior citizen of 82 years of age, had claimed a refund of Rs 2,333 on his income tax return for the year 2020 and submitted requisite documents of advance tax deduction of the PTCL and cell phone company bills on 19.10.2020.

The complainant e-filed refund application on 19th October, 2020 followed by representation to FBR Chairman on 24th December, 2020.

The Unit officer of FBR rejected his refund claim, on 29.01.2021, on the grounds that the applicant had failed to furnish the original certificates required for authentication.

The complainant then took up the matter with the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) to seek redressal of his complaint.

The FTO investigated the matter and ordered FBR on 02.06.2021 to revisit the impugned order dated 19.01.2021 and pass a fresh order under section 170(4) of the ordinance, after providing the complainant the opportunity for hearing as per law.

It further ordered to identify and initiate disciplinary proceedings against the official who passed the impugned order in derogation of the law and procedures and dragged the aging taxpayer into unnecessary litigation as well as report compliance within 45 days. Consequently, FBR filed a representation with the president against the original order of FTO on 24.06.2021.

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