The International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) has released its roundup of the cinema attendance and box office receipts for last year from across Europe. Based on provisional data, cinema-going in Europe decreased by approximately 3.3 per cent following a record-breaking previous year, yet still totalled over 1.25 billion admissions and € 8 billion at the box office for the fourth year in a row.
Ireland was one of the regions in which cinema attendances dropped, with figures down 2.1% against 2017. The 15.8 million admissions in the country was still the highest per-capita attendance in Europe, with our 3.3 visits per person marginally ahead of France at 3.2. Total admissions for EU Member States (where data was available) decreased by 2.9 per cent, with close to 950 million visits to the cinema.
Despite the drop in attendances, the year on year box office receipts for Ireland rose by 3.1% from €113.8 million to €117.3 million (not adjusted for inflation). Despite a very slight dip of 0.1 per cent in box office results, UK exhibitors enjoyed a record-breaking year with over 177 million admissions, the highest level of cinema-going since 1970.
The biggest release of the year in Ireland was Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, followed by A Star is Born, Avengers: Infinity War, The Incredibles 2, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. US films held the top spot by admissions in 27 of the 37 countries it surveyed, with Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody took the top spot in eight territories. Just seven territories – Denmark, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Russia, Serbia and Turkey – had a top film of local origin.
Again Ireland fared poorly when it came to national cinema share in the EU, with Ireland recording the 6th lowest percentage of those countries reporting data. 2018’s percentage share of admissions for Irish films was just 2%, while share of box-office was 2.5%, up marginally on 2.4% in 2017, but considerably below the 4.3% in 2016. This minor increase comes despite Black ’47 taking more than €1.5 million at the domestic box office. Lance Daly’s famine western accounted for more than 1% of the share on its own.
Polish cinemas attracted almost 60 million cinema-goers, a 5.5% year-on-year increase, bolstered by three local productions leading at the box office including Kler and Kobiety Mafii. Even more impressively, Romania almost quadrupled its cinema attendance in the last ten years, with a record 14.5 million tickets sold in 2018, as box office increased by 12.5%. Finally, Turkish cinemas attracted over 70 million cinema-goers for the second year in a row, with a record-breaking 62.9% national films’ market share led by the local production Müslüm.
While France experienced a 4.3 per cent decline in attendance, French exhibitors still attracted over 200 million cinema-goers and enjoyed a record market share for national films of almost 40 per cent, with three local films in the box office top five. The same trend could be observed in Spain (box office -1.9% / admissions -2.0%), finishing just shy of the symbolic 100 million admissions mark. Russia – after outperforming France in 2017 as the leading European territory in terms of cinema admissions – experienced its second-best year ever, despite a 5.7% decrease in admissions, as local film Dvizhenie vverkh led at the box office.
Germany (box office -14.8% / admissions -13.9%), Austria (box office -9.5% / admissions -11.4%) and Switzerland (box office -12.6% / admissions -12.9%) all suffered from a lack of successful local and international content. Decreases were also witnessed in Italy (box office -5.0% / admissions -6.9%), Greece (box office -7.7% / admissions -7.4%) and Portugal (box office -4.0% / admissions -5.9%).
UNIC is the European trade grouping representing cinema exhibitors and their national trade associations across 37 European territories. More information available on unic-cinemas.org.