North America the Dominant International Market for Euro Films

Resident Evil: Afterlife
Screen Gems

Even Sony was stunned when the film, thanks in large part to the upside of 3D, grossed a whopping $234 million overseas. Domestically, it grossed $60.1 for an global cume of $294.1 million. Costing around $60 million to produce, Resident Evil turned a handy profit for Sony.

European movies earned just under $500 million outside of Europe in 2010, led by German-produced "Resident Evil: Afterlife."

COLOGNE, Germany -- North America is the dominant international market for European films, accounting for more than half of all tickets sold outside of Europe and some 62 percent of total non-European box office revenues, a new study from the European Audiovisual Observatory has found.

The study, the first of its kind, looked at ticket sales and box office take for all European releases in 10 key non-European territories in 2010. In addition to North America, the study looked at box office performance in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and the larger Latin and South American territories. It compared the results to the performance of European movies within Europe.

The results found that of the 378 million tickets sold in 2010 for European films, 19 percent, or some 70.4 million tickets, were outside of Europe. Of those, 55 percent, or 39 million, were in the United States and Canada.

When it came to box office revenue, North America was even more dominant, accounting for 62 percent of the $487 million (€376 million) earned outside Europe by European movies. In total, the 128 European films released in North America in 2010 earned a total of $300 million (€232.3 million) at the box office. The second-largest territory for European films was Latin America, which saw more theatrical releases (155) for European movies but had fewer admission (19.7 million) and, due to lower average ticket prices, a smaller box office take (€62.4 million or $81 million). 

British films were the most popular internationally, with a total of 25 million admissions for U.K. Movies outside of Europe, fully 36 percent of all admissions for European films in non-European territories. Of the top five European films in 2010, three were British: Green Zone, Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang and The King's Speech. Germany came second in the international rankings, with 17.3 million  admissions – a 25 percent share – but that was due mostly to one film: Constantin Film's Resident Evil: Afterlife, which alone sold nearly 15 million tickets outside of Europe.

More sobering was the statistic that showed that merely 8 percent of European releases in 2010 secured a theatrical bow anywhere outside of Europe. And total admissions for European films, at 70.4 million tickets, represents a 16 percent year-on-year drop from 2009.

For the study, European films were defined as ones produced and majority financed by one or more European countries. Titles produced and shot in Europe but largely financed by Hollywood Studios - such as the Harry Potter or James Bond films – were mostly excluded from the study on the grounds that their box office earnings would distort the overall statistics for “typical” European films.