26/09/2012 09:32 BST

Cineworld Announces Three New Cinema Sites Following Blockbuster Results

The UK's market leading cinema chain Cineworld has announced a further three sites for new cinemas in Bracknell, Swindon and Broughton Park in Chester.

The new sites are in addition to Cineworld's current plans for 2013 which include the opening of the nine-screen Wembley development, a six-screen cinema in St Neots and a replacement 10-screen cinema in Gloucester.

And a further two multiplexes are being targeted to open next year.

Cineworld, which currently has 26% of the market share in UK cinemas according to Mintel, has performed well this year; its latest results showed admissions had remained steady and pre tax profits for the first half of 2012 were £13.4m, up 94% from the £6.9m in the same period last year 2011.

Stephen Wiener, chief executive officer of Cineworld Group, said the new sites proved it had economic resilience in keeping footfall consistent even during difficult economic times.

At a time when consumers are feeling the pinch, it seems the public is still willing to shell out an average of £6.03 a ticket plus food and drink for a few hours of escapism.

Michael Oliver, senior leisure and media analyst at Mintel, told Huffington Post UK that despite a 20% price rise in tickets between 2007 and 2011 (and bear in mind that's 6.1% higher than inflation rose those years), people still consider the cinema to be an affordable treat.

Lower admission numbers across the sector could be put down to the Olympics effect, but most cinemas bank of big blockbusters from the summer onwards to drive people to the flicks.

And continued innovation was also helping Cineworld keep its hold on the market, including the introduction of D-Box seats which move and vibrate during the film, at a number of sites and the Screening Room premium service, which features bigger seats, better bar snacks and a concierge service.

The seats are expensive, costing £5.50 more than the average £8.90 spent on a 3D ticket. D-box seats are planned to be rolled out to another 20 in 2013.

There are signs that consumers are beginning to grumble about the cost of going to the cinema; In August 2012 an angry Facebook rant against Odeon for overcharging went viral.

"Recent research we carried out showed 91% of people think food and drink at the cinema are overpriced and 85% think tickets are becoming too expensive," Oliver said, adding this could be a sign that the peak acceptable cost for cinema-going had been reached.