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BOX OFFICE Lithuania

The Lithuanian box office sees a drastic reduction in admissions in 2020

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- The cataclysmic effect of the pandemic resulted in a very poor year for film exhibitors, with only 1.5 million tickets sold, while two local titles topped the list of most-seen movies

The Lithuanian box office sees a drastic reduction in admissions in 2020
The Lithuanian flick The Perfect Date by Robertas Razma, which emerged as number one at the Lithuanian box office last year

Lithuania proved to be no exception to the majority of countries when it recorded one of its worst box-office results last year. According to statistics released by the Lithuanian Film Centre (LFC), national cinemas suffered almost a threefold reduction in both viewers and revenue compared to 2019.

In detail, the results of the first two months of 2020 had led people to expect a better performance than in 2019, when 383 films were shown, with 4.1 million tickets sold and almost €22.5 million in revenues. The 20% increase in revenues in January and February last year, in comparison to the same two months of 2019, and an average of 30,000 viewers per month, was clearly paving the way for an even better year, with companies expecting a 5% increase in their revenues. However, the two lockdowns brought the predictions crashing down.

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By the end of 2020, the revenue of the companies was only €8.4 million, while just 1.5 million tickets had been sold. With many of the films postponing their premieres, a total of 271 movies were screened in the country’s cinemas, 13 of them Lithuanian productions. The market share also shifted notably: US productions secured just over 52% of the market – down from 61% in 2019 – and at the same time, European productions increased their presence, with 23.7% (an increase of almost 8% from 15.8% two years ago), while even Lithuanian films saw a marginal increase, verging on 22%, up from 19.6% in 2019.

Two local films ended up being the two most-watched movies in cinemas, and these positions were achieved even before the first lockdown hit. The Perfect Date, a romcom directed by Robertas Razma, and starring Jurgita Jurkutė and Leonardas Pobedonoscevas, was the most popular film in Lithuania, drawing in 146,815 viewers since its release in early January 2020. Another romcom, Imported Groom, directed by Simonas Aškelavičius, snatched second place at the box office, with 115,283 viewers. The full statistics of the last year can be found on the website of the LFC.

It is worth bearing in mind that, in order to support the exhibition sector, last October, the Lithuanian Film Centre issued one-off grants that were intended for cinemas and film distributors in an attempt to minimise their losses. With a budget totalling €2.8 million, 18 cinemas received €2.24 million in support, while 12 film distribution companies were funded with the remaining €560,000 (see the news).

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