Admissions across the 38 territories covered by the UNIC report — which includes Russia and Turkey as well as Western and Eastern Europe — showed a 3.4 percent drop in ticket sales to 1.29 billion.
But there were major variations between individual countries, with the U.K. recording 177 million admissions, its highest level since the 1970s. Germany, in contrast, had a horrible year, with box office down nearly 15 percent and admissions 14 percent lower.
France regained its title as Europe’s leading filmgoing territory, recording 201.5 million admissions in 2018, just ahead of Russia’s 200.5 million. Russia last year had edged past France in terms of total cinema admissions.
Hollywood films again dominated the European box office, led by Avengers: Infinity War, a top five title in virtually every territory in Europe. One glaring exception was in Turkey, where local productions dominate the box office, accounting for 62.9 percent of the market. In France, the figure is 39.5 percent and in Poland, home-grown films accounted for 35.5 percent of the local box office in 2018. Overall, European titles took just under a third of the total box office in the region.
Looking ahead, the UNIC was upbeat about the industry’s prospects for 2019, citing the blockbuster success of Avengers: Endgame, which took just 11 days to reach $2 billion at the global box office, and upcoming tentpole releases of The Lion King and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
The UNIC report was released timed to the opening of the CineEurope theatrical exhibitor trade show, which runs through June 20 in Barcelona, Spain.