email print share on Facebook share on Twitter share on LinkedIn share on reddit pin on Pinterest

Box Office - Europe

Industry Report: Distribution, Exhibition and Streaming

Gross box office in the EU and the UK grew by 70% in 2022, but fell short of pre-pandemic average by 28%

by 

According to the European Audiovisual Observatory report, the latest instalments of Top Gun, Avatar and Minions topped the Europe 28 charts in 2022, selling each over 30 million tickets

Gross box office in the EU and the UK grew by 70% in 2022, but fell short of pre-pandemic average by 28%
Downton Abbey: A New Era, the second most successful European film

A few days ahead of the Cannes Film Festival, the European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO) has published the 2023 edition of its FOCUS – World Film Market Trends report.

The first finding highlights that cinema markets in the EU and the UK in 2022 were still one third lower than pre-pandemic average. Despite the lifting of most restrictions early on in the year, 2022 was still marked by many of the challenges observed during the two pandemic years, including “hesitancy among audiences to return to cinemas, a lower number of US title releases, a weak summer slate and some remaining restrictions during the first half of the year in some countries.” 

(The article continues below - Commercial information)
madrid film office feb 2024 elena central

Overall, cinema attendance in the EU and the UK increased by 63% from 403 million tickets sold in 2021 to an estimated 657 million in 2022, representing 67% of the average pre-pandemic admission level registered between 2017 and 2019. Moreover, gross box office grew by 70% from €2.99 billion to an estimated €5.07 billion, the equivalent of 72% of the average pre-pandemic box office levels. Luckily enough, the number of screens remained “stable at cumulative level, decreasing only by about 300 screens from 32,833 screens in 2019, to 32 526 screens operational in the EU and the UK in 2022.”

Nonetheless, the study shows how there were “significant differences with regard to the year-on-year growth which ranged from a 241% increase in Latvia to a 19% increase in Poland.” Denmark and the Czech Republic performed particularly well, with their admissions reaching 82% and 81% of the pre-pandemic average, respectively. The worst performing countries were Italy and Greece, which reached 49% and 57% of their pre-pandemic averages, respectively. Other markets marked by strong growth were Turkey (+188% year-on-year, but reaching only 53% of its pre-pandemic levels) and Norway (+55% year-on-year, reaching 75% of its pre-pandemic admissions).

Unsurprisingly, US studio flicks have dominated the box office charts of the EU and the UK last year. As was already the case in 2021, they accounted for all the top 25 titles in the EU and UK in terms of admissions. In detail, three films topped the charts: Top Gun: Maverick (34.5 million tickets sold in the UK and the EU), Avatar: The Way of Water (30.6 million tickets), and Minions: The Rise of Gru (30.2 million tickets).

Meanwhile, ten other titles managed to sell between 10 and 20 million tickets. Therefore, a total of 13 films sold over 10 million tickets in the EU and UK in 2022, compared to five in 2021 and 18 in 2019. Film franchise titles once more dominated the European box office, with 15 out of the top 20 films being sequels, prequels, spin-offs or reboots, compared to 17 in 2021 and 18 in 2019.

Apart from Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (UK/US, a film produced in Europe with incoming investments from US studios), no European film featured among the top 25 titles. Downton Abbey: A New Era (UK/US) became the second most successful European film, selling 4.1 million tickets, ahead of the French comedy sequel Serial (Bad) Weddings 3 [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(France/Belgium) with 3.8 million tickets and the Northern Ireland drama Belfast [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(UK) with 3.7 million tickets.

Despite the return of US blockbusters, however, European films performed well, reaching an increased market share of 28.4% (up from 26.8% in 2021).

US films (whose market share also grew from 61.8% in 2021 to 64.5%, in line with pre-pandemic levels) are estimated to have sold around 421 million tickets in 2022 (173 million more than in 2021) generating about 66% of their average pre-pandemic admissions of 643 million. European films sold an estimated 185 million tickets, 77 million more than in 2021 and about 69% of their pre-pandemic average of 269 million admissions.

In comparison with 2021, the market share captured by domestic films increased in 12 of the 25 EU markets for which 2022 data were available, rising above the 2017-2019 average in 16 territories. France registered the highest market share for domestic productions in the EU (41.1%), ahead of the Czech Republic (37.5%), Denmark (30%), Germany (27%) and Finland (26.9%).

Outside of the EU, the market share for national films dropped to 30.1% in the UK (including US studio-backed productions), which compares to 42% in 2021 and an average 43.6% between 2017 and 2019 and represents the lowest level since 2014. Turkey saw the domestic share rising from a record low of 23.3% in 2021 to 50.8% in 2022, slightly below the levels registered in pre-pandemic years.

While the exhibition sector is still struggling, European film production seems to be fully back on track. An estimated total of 1,960 feature films were produced in the EU and the UK in 2022 (194 films more than in 2021), which represents the second highest production level registered after the record high of 2,037 feature films produced in 2019. The report indicates that this growth was primarily driven by the production of feature documentaries (which increased by 116 films out of 771 titles produced), whilst the production of fiction features increased by only 78 films out of a total of 1,189 films.

You can read the full report here

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.

Privacy Policy