Multiplex chain Cineworld hailed a "creditable" box office performance today after overcoming a barren year for the release of blockbuster films.

The group, which has more than 100 sites under the Cineworld and Picturehouse brands, said its box office market share rose by one percentage point to 27.4% as admissions lifted 1.4% last year. Adjusted profits improved by 10.4% to £44.7 million.

In contrast to the previous year when there were three blockbuster films, including the record-breaking Skyfall, 2013 was short of major hits.

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The year was underpinned by the success of Despicable Me 2 and Les Miserables, which both grossed nationally in excess of £40 million.

Cineworld said the first quarter of the current financial year has started in line with expectations with films such including The Wolf of Wall Street and 12 Years a Slave performing strongly at the box office.

There is a solid film release programme for the remainder of the year, including the next instalment from the Hunger Games franchise, as well as the final film in The Hobbit. Other popular film franchises such as Transformers, Spiderman and X-Men also have new releases throughout the year.

Cineworld recently struck a merger deal with Cinema City to create a company with 201 outlets and 1,852 screens across Europe, placing it second to the continent's largest operator Odeon UCI.