Star Wars, Fantastic Beasts and Bridget Jones star in Cineworld's record breaking 2016

The chain is pulling in punters - and selling more popcorn...

Star Wars, Fantastic Beasts and Bridget Jones star in Cineworld's record breaking 2016

Matt Alexander PA Wire / PA Images

UK cinema chain Cineworld has announced 8.3% revenue growth in 2016.

Hits including Star Wars: Rogue One, The Jungle Book, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, and Bridget Jones's Baby drew record numbers to its screens around the world.

Dunkirk has been highlighted as a potential big earner in 2017

The group's office revenue increased by 7% during the 12 months with business improving in Ireland, the UK, Poland, Hungary and Israel.

Its retail revenue (which is mainly comprised of food and drink sales) enjoyed a 12.7% surge - it also added Starbucks outlets and new VIP areas to some of its cinemas.

Other Income, which predominantly consists of advertising and distribution revenues, increased by 7%.

It expects 2017 to be another strong year - and highlights Star Wars: Episode VIII, Despicable Me 3, Beauty and the Beast, Justice League, Paddington 2, Fast and Furious 8, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, and Dunkirk as the films which will draw large audiences.

Cineworld now operates 226 sites with 2,115 screens.

This includes eight sites which opened during 2016, four in the UK, and four in other territories.

It has one multiplex in Ireland on Parnell St in north-central Dublin.

The group has continued to drive investment into 4DX and IMAX screens.

Cineworld adds that it will continue to explore potential investment and expansion opportunities.