Country Focus: UK
2009 best in seven years
by Naman Ramachandran
- The recession seems to have sent British and Irish punters flocking to the cinemas as 2009 figures released by the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association (CEA) reveal. The year was the best for UK cinemas since 2002, with 173,461,335 admissions, a 5.6% increase on 2008.
Box office receipts for UK and Ireland crossed £1bn for the first time ever at £1,054,351,651 (the UK-only figure being £943,750,158) after a year when the attractions of 3D cinema increasingly made their presence felt. By the end of 2009 there were over 400 3D-equipped cinemas drawing on average over three times the gross revenues of their 2D counterparts for the same film. Avatar [+see also:
film profile] is an exception, where 3D screens are raking in over seven times the box office of its 2D equivalent.
CEA Chief Executive Phil Clapp said, “UK cinemas have had another remarkable year. As the UK slowly emerges from recession, audiences show no sign of reducing their cinema attendance. The cinema offer of affordable and escapist entertainment in a welcoming environment continues to be a huge pull. The sheer quality and diversity of the overall film slate in 2009 – with every expectation that this will be even better in 2010 – must have been the determining factor.
“At the same time the emergence of 3D as a powerful new entertainment technology has undoubtedly had an effect. Cinema audiences are really excited by 3D films and with standout performers Up and Avatar being potential awards contenders this is an entertainment offer that is really coming of age.”