- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Last year was a record one at the box office in the U.S. Less so in Europe, where ticket sales slipped 3.3 percent and overall revenue came in at just over $9.1 billion (8 billion euros), according to figures released Wednesday by European cinema trade body the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC). The figures are preliminary as final figures from France are still outstanding.
While the UNIC tried to put a positive spin on the figures, noting 2017 was a record-breaking year and box office and total admissions — at 1.25 billion tickets sold — were still strong, there was no disguising the disappointing results in certain territories.
Germany was the hardest hit, with box office plunging 14.8 percent to $1.025 billion (899 million euros). But Italy (down 5 percent), Spain (2 percent drop) and Russia (down 5.6 percent) also showed sharp declines. It should be noted, however, that Russia’s result — $767 million — represented the second best year in the territory’s history. The U.K. had a banner year in terms of admissions — the 177 million tickets sold represented a high water mark not reached since 1970 — but heavy discounting and competitive pricing between cinemas led to a slight decline in revenue, which was flat at $1.65 billion. Final figures for France were not available but overall the country saw a 4.3 percent decline in admissions.
Upbeat movies — particularly ones with a sing-along soundtrack — seemed to play well in Europe. Bohemian Rhapsody and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, featuring, respectively, the music of Queen and Abba, were top five hits in virtually every European country. Bohemian Rhapsody actually hit number one in eight territories, including Italy and The Netherlands. Avengers: Infinity War was a number one hit in six, and Mamma Mia 2 topped the charts in four European countries in 2018, including in Abba’s home nation of Sweden.
But it was local hits that made the difference between growth and decline at the European box office. The territories that saw solid growth had a local box office smash —or several —to thank for it. In Poland, Catholic Church exposé Clergy and crime thriller Women of Mafia helped boost the box office by 4.7 percent and admissions by 5.5 percent to more than 60 million. In Denmark, box office was up 5.1 percent to $174 million, thanks in large part to the blockbuster success of Christoffer Boe’s local-language thriller The Purity of Vengeance.
Overall, admissions per capita across Europe remained stable at 1.5 visits per year, with the most avid cinemagoers located in France and Ireland (3.2 and 3.3 admissions per year, respectively).
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day