U.K. summer b.o. up from 2007

Admissions up by more than 3 million

LONDON -- Summertime and the living is easy, at least according to figures released Monday that show audience numbers on the rise at the U.K. boxoffice compared with the year-ago period.

While cinema visits during June-August rose to 53.6 million, up from 50.8 million in the same time in 2007, so did the cost to distributors trying to entice audiences into the auditoriums.

The Film Distributors' Assn., which released the statistics, attributed the uptick in visits to the range of movies offered and the bad British weather as well as the runaway success of "Mamma Mia!" which is already fourth in the U.K.'s all-time top 10 boxoffice successes.

In June-August, distributors shelled out an estimated 80.9 million pounds ($146 million) on launching and sustaining their releases in the market place.

That compares with 74.1 pounds million spent during the same three months last year.

This is made up of 47.2 million pounds ($85 million) on media advertising, up from 40.4 million pounds in the same period of 2007 and 33.7 million pounds ($60.8 million) on film prints and trailers.

TV advertising accounted for almost half of the media advertising spend, while a higher proportion than ever before was spent on online promotion, the FDA said.

"It's really exciting to see cinemagoing at a 40-year high. Given the formidable autumn lineup, 2008 is all set to be another buoyant year at the movies," FDA chief executive Mark Batey said.