European Union 2016 Cinema Admissions Were Highest Since 2004

Tomi Um

Attendance rose 1.6 percent in the 24 EU markets, with only five recording declines, including Germany and the U.K.

The European Audiovisual Observatory on Friday released its first estimates for European cinema attendance in 2016, which looks to have risen 1.6 percent.

"Building on a strong 2015, the Observatory estimates that total admissions in the European Union continued to grow, increasing by 1.6 percent to 994 million tickets sold in 2016," it said. "This is 16 million more than in 2015 and the highest level registered in the EU since 2004."

Including non-EU territories in Europe, 2016 actually saw the highest admission levels of the past decades with estimated record admissions of more than 1.27 billion tickets.

Cinema attendance increased in 19 EU markets and decreased in only five of the 24 for which provisional data were available.

The growth in EU cinema attendance was primarily driven by a strong year-on-year performance in France (+7.4 million, +3.6 percent), Poland (+7.4 million, +16.6 percent), Spain (+7.2 million, +7.5 percent) and Italy (+5.8 million, +5.4 percent).

"It’s also worth mentioning the record levels registered in the Czech Republic (+2.7 million, +20.6 percent) and the Slovak Republic (+1.1 million, +23.4 percent), which represent the highest levels in recent history," said the organization. "Indeed, only two EU markets registered a significant decline in admissions: In Germany, cinema attendance dropped by 18.1 million (-13.0 percent), partly due to a drop in admissions to local films, and the U.K. registered a 2.1 percent decline, losing 3.7 million ticket sales compared to 2015."

The European Audiovisual Observatory said the performance was essentially due to "the solid performance of a comparatively large number of U.S. studio titles along with strong results for Italian, French, Polish and Czech films in their home markets."

It added: "In contrast to 2015 when Star Wars VII, Minions and Spectre stood out selling around 38 million tickets in the EU each, no single film seems to have generated more than 30 million admissions in 2016. Top-ranking films in the EU include animation films, such as The Secret Life of Pets, Finding Dory, The Jungle Book and Zootopia, as well as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, Deadpool and Captain America: Civil War."