Cineworld is lookiing ahead to summer blockbuster The Lion King and upcoming movies including the next Star Wars instalment to offset falling admissions and profits in a weak start to 2019.

The group said box office admissions dropped 14 per cent to 136 million in the six months to June 30, with pre-tax profits down 13% at $139.7 million (£114.8 million).

It blamed the performance on the timing of major movie releases, while it is thought box office takings across the sector have been hit by a lukewarm response to recent sequels Lego Movie 2 and Men in Black: International.

But the firm, which last year bought larger US rival Regal, is hoping a stronger line-up of releases for the second half will keep it on track for the full year, with The Lion King live-action remake already drawing in big audiences since opening in July.

READ MORE: Debenhams hires turnaround expert 

Box office sales, which make up nearly 60% of total revenues, fell 14.9% to $1.5 billion (£1.2 billion) on a pro forma basis, including the Regal business, which was bought in March 2018.

Figures showed UK admissions fell 8.2% to 23.5 million, while they were down 18.5% in the US at 89.7 million.

Mooky Greidinger, chief executive of Cineworld, said: "Very strong admissions for The Lion King demonstrated the ongoing popularity of the theatrical business around the globe, while Avengers: Endgame was the highest grossing movie of all time.

"Still to come are It Chapter Two, Joker, Frozen 2, and one of the most anticipated movies in recent years, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker."

Property giant Bellway said it increased the number of new homes it developed over the past year and expects revenues to rise as a result.

The housing firm told investors it expects profit for the year to July to be in line with market forecasts following the "successful delivery" of its growth strategy.

READ MORE: Scots investment giant takes £500m value hit

It said that revenue for the year is forecast to have grown by 8% to almost £3.2 billion on the back of a 5.7% increase in house completions, to 10,892.

Bellway added that its order book is also slightly higher than at the same time last year, with orders for 4,878 homes providing a "strong platform" to deliver "moderate volume growth".

Shares in the company were down 2.9% 2,799p.

AA saw shares jump after the motoring association said its member numbers have stabilised after slipping in the first half of the year.

The car insurance provider said it is on track to deliver earnings growth in the financial year, with revenues expected to rise in a stronger second half period.

READ MORE: First look: £1.2m hotel to be built at Scottish marina

AA's insurance division saw its volumes grow for the six months to July, with its motor book rising by 10% to 803,000 policies, while its home book rose by 1.3% to 841,000 policies.

The company said that its average income per customer for its business-to-business segment rose by 5% over the half, while its customer facing arm saw income per paid member rise by 2% to £165.

Shares in company rose by 6.4% to 53.3p.