2021 saw limited recovery of EU and UK theatrical markets, with attendance up 31.5% on 2020
- The European Audiovisual Observatory has published its latest figures on cinemagoing, which reveal a 58% drop compared to pre-pandemic levels
Yesterday, the European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO) published its latest figures on European cinemagoing. According to the body’s data, released in the 2022 edition of FOCUS – World Film Market Trends ahead of this year’s Marché du Film (17-25 May), the 2021 gross box office in the EU and the UK (here also referred as “Europe 28”) increased only moderately from €2.1 billion to €2.9 billion, down by 58% on pre-pandemic levels, but admissions were up by 31.5% (from 299 million to 394 million) on 2020 figures.
In detail, Cary Joji Fukunaga’s No Time to Die [+see also:
film profile] (UK/USA) and Jon Watts’ Spider Man: No Way Home (USA) topped the chart, selling 34.4 million and 26.8 million tickets throughout the calendar year, respectively. Three other features managed to sell over 10 million tickets – namely, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune [+see also:
film profile] (USA/Hungary/Jordan/UAE/Norway/Canada, 14.3 million), Justin Lin’s Fast and Furious 9 (USA, 12.1 million) and Andy Serkis’ Venom: Let There Be Carnage (USA, 10.5 million). Moreover, the market share for European films dropped from a record high of 39.5% to 26.5% as US blockbusters returned to invade the continent’s cinemas. On a more positive note, film production in Europe 28 grew by 30%, finally reaching pre-pandemic levels again.
The EAO defines 2021 as a “difficult year” and explains that multiple factors are behind these figures, including “the ongoing closures of cinemas, particularly in the first half of the year, the negative effect of attendance restrictions, possible hesitancy among audiences to return to cinemas, the return of US studio blockbusters and the differing strength of local films”.
On the whole, admissions in 2021 increased in 17 countries, decreased in eight and stagnated in two. Specifically, the highest year-on-year increase was recorded in Bulgaria (+91%), Croatia (+77%), the UK (+68%), Cyprus (+57%), Ireland (+56%), Poland (+55%), Spain (+53%) and Romania (+53%). Meanwhile, admissions declined particularly in Estonia (-23%), the Netherlands (-15%), Slovakia (-14%), Lithuania (-13%), Italy (-12%) and Finland (11%). Outside Europe 28, theatrical markets grew strongly on a year-to-year basis in Bosnia and Herzegovina (+186%), Montenegro (+125%), Russia (+64%), and Iceland (+51%), whilst Turkey recorded a 28% drop.
Sadly, in 2021, no European film featured among the top 20 titles. The comedy Kaamelott: First Instalment [+see also:
film profile] (France) became the most successful European title, selling 2.8 million tickets, ahead of the psychological drama The Father [+see also:
interview: Florian Zeller
film profile] (UK/France, 2.4 million) and the crime-thriller The Stronghold [+see also:
film profile] (France, 2.2 million). Within Europe 28, four countries stood out in terms of national market share: the UK and the Czech Republic, which registered the highest national market share with 42% of total admissions, ahead of Denmark and France (both 41%). Outside the EU, Turkey’s national market share plummeted from 80% in 2020 to 23%, whilst Norway registered the highest national market share outside Europe 28 (30%), just ahead of Russia (27%).
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