Hollywood Market Share Slips in Europe, But Studio Tentpoles Still Dominate

Courtesy of Illumination and Universal
'Despicable Me 3'

The European box office hit $8.4 billion in 2017, the third-highest level on record, with European movies accounting for just under a third of admissions.

The European box office held steady last year, with revenue, as tallied by the European Audiovisual Observatory, hitting $8.4 billion (€7.02 billion) in 2017, down a mere 0.3 percent from 2016 and the third-highest level ever recorded (not adjusted for inflation).

On the admissions side, it was slightly less positive, with ticket sales continuing their slow decline: 984 million movie tickets were sold across Europe last year, a decline of 0.8 percent, or 7.6 million tickets, from a year earlier.

European films gained ground on Hollywood titles, with homegrown movies accounting for 27.5 percent of all admissions, up more than 1 percent from a year earlier and the second-highest level in five years. France and the U.K. led the way, with local titles accounting for 37 percent of French ticket sales, and a whopping 37.4 percent in Britain.

Southern Europe didn't do as well. Admissions in Italy slumped nearly 13 percent last year, the sharpest decline of any of the big European territories, with local titles accounting for less than 20 percent of admissions. In Spain, the figure was just 17 percent.

Where Hollywood completely dominated was at the top of the box office food chain. Of the top 10 most successful films in Europe last year, all were U.S. studio titles, with one exception: Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk, a U.K.-U.S.-French co-production, which came in at number nine with just over 17 million admissions. Leading the pack was Universal's animated feature Despicable Me 3, which sold 32.3 million tickets across Europe last year.  

Family-friendly titles (Beauty and the Beast, Boss Baby) and franchise features (Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, The Fate of the Furious) dominated the top 10. There was no single non-English-language feature that made it into the top 20. Bora Dagtekin's German comedy Suck Me Shakespeer 3 was the only one to come close, selling 6.5 million tickets in Europe last year, almost exclusively in German-speaking territories.