Shares of the nation's largest theater chains have plunged along with ticket sales in the fourth quarter as analysts revised their earnings estimates for the chains after the chains themselves reported revenue declines for the first three quarters -- that is, even before the dreadful holiday season. The Hollywood Reporter observed today (Friday) that attendance at theaters this year dropped to its lowest level since 1995. And the Los Angeles Times noted that the nation's largest chain, Regal Entertainment, has seen its shares drop 14 percent in the last month. Carmike Cinemas, the fourth-largest chain, has declined 7 percent. And Cinemark Holdings, the third-largest, has seen its stock price drop 3 percent in the last five days. But, in an interview with the Times, Carmike CEO S. David Passman predicted a "strong year" for 2012, citing, of all things, the planned re-release of 20th Century Fox's Titanic and Disney's Beauty and the Beast in 3D. But the studios appear to be looking past the domestic market and aiming squarely at the booming international market, which is experiencing outsized growth. The Times noted that some of the studios' tentpole releases next year appear designed to appeal to foreign audiences, including Disney's John Carter , 20th Century Fox's Prometheus, Sony's Men In Black 3 , and Warner Bros.' The Dark Knight Rises.
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