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BOX OFFICE Ireland

A breathtaking 2019 for Irish cinemas

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- Last year, the Emerald Isle’s box office netted over €117 million, and the most popular domestic production was Lee Cronin’s The Hole in the Ground

A breathtaking 2019 for Irish cinemas
The Hole in the Ground by Lee Cronin

Irish cinemas enjoyed their best year in almost a decade last year. Admission figures for 2019, published by Wide Eye Media earlier this week, are the highest since 2010. In detail, the national box office netted €117.4 million, in a breathtaking year that saw three US blockbusters gross over €6 million apiece. Jon Favreau’s The Lion King (€6,542,001) was the most-viewed film of the season, followed by the Russo brothersAvengers: Endgame (€6,408,459) and Todd PhillipsJoker (€6,350,724), the winner of the Golden Lion at last year’s Venice Film Festival.

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In total, admissions for 2019 exceeded 15 million for the second year in a row, with annual box-office revenue up by €4 million on 2017 and slightly ahead of 2018’s figures, which recorded €117.3 million in takings. Moreover, the number of films released rose by 5%, from 448 in 2018 to 472 in 2019. Family films accounted for 34% of all box-office takings last year, making it the most popular genre of the year, followed by action flicks and dramas (22%), musicals (18%) and comedies (11%).

Undoubtedly, the Irish are avid cinemagoers; nonetheless, no domestic flicks made the top ten last year. The most-viewed European film, namely Michael Engler’s period drama Downton Abbey [+see also:
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(a British-US co-production), ranked seventh and grossed €2,996,318. The top ten was rounded off by Josh Cooley’s Toy Story 4 (fourth position, €5,977,865), Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee’s Frozen II (fifth, €4,751,756), Jon WattsSpider-Man: Far from Home (sixth, €3,339,554), Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s Captain Marvel (eighth, €2,831,922), JJ AbramsStar Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (ninth, €2,770,193), and Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin (tenth, €2,610,185). Notably, seven of the ten titles were distributed by Walt Disney Studios. Finally, Lee Cronin’s thriller The Hole in the Ground [+see also:
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was the most successful domestic production, having been released in over 70 cinemas and grossing slightly more than €140,000 in the first two opening weekends, according to the data published by Screen Ireland, the country’s audiovisual agency.

Speaking about last year’s box-office results and Irish cinemagoers’ habits, Eoin Wrixon, of Wide Eye Media, commented: “The Lion King was number one in 2019, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again [+see also:
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topped the charts in 2018, while Beauty and the Beast was the favourite film of 2017. All three of these rely heavily on music and songs, which constitutes a large part of their appeal. Musicals resonate with Irish audiences much more than with any other nationality. Despite all of the changes to our culture and the nature of entertainment over the last ten years, cinema remains one of our favourite leisure activities. The unique shared viewing experience, made possible by a cinema auditorium, is a massive part of the attraction.”

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