Europe Sees 1.2 Billion Movie Tickets Sold Last Year

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Still 24 - Stormtroopers First Order - H 2015
Courtesy of Lucasfilms 2015/Walt Disney Studios

Cinema attendance was up virtually everywhere as European box office had its best year since 2004.

Europeans flocked to the movies in 2015, with ticket sales hitting near-record levels on the continent, according to figures released Feb. 12 by the European Audiovisual Observatory.

The Observatory estimated more than 1.2 billion movie tickets were sold across Europe last year, the highest level since 2004. Compared to 2014, it was a 7.6 percent increase.

Germany showed a 14.4 percent attendance spike, the U.K. jumped 9.2 percent and Italian movie theaters sold 8.7 million more tickets last year than in 2014, a 8.9 percent hike. Of the major European territories, only France showed a slight year-on-year decline.

Major U.S. studio tentpoles including Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Minions and Jurassic World were prime box office drivers in most European territories.

But local-language features did well in Denmark, Germany and Finland, where they accounted for nearly one in every three tickets sold.

French films took a 35 percent share of tickets sold in the territory, a relatively weak performance for the country, and down from the 44.5 percent mark recorded in 2014. Turkey was the only country in the study where a majority of admissions — 56.8 percent — were for home-grown productions.