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BOX OFFICE Europe

The European box office suffered a 70.4% loss in 2020

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- The International Union of Cinemas’ annual report reveals that the dramatic drop resulted in a total loss of €6.2 billion in revenues compared to 2019

The European box office suffered a 70.4% loss in 2020
Father There Is Only One 2 by Santiago Segura, which proved to be the most successful European film released during the reopening periods in 2020 in the EU and the UK

On 6 October, the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), the international trade association representing European cinema operators and their national associations, published its annual report. The document examined key trends across the 38 territories represented by the body during 2020.

Unsurprisingly, the report disclosed that European cinemas suffered a 70.4% decrease in their box office, amounting to a total drop of €6.2 billion in revenues compared to 2019. Moreover, a similar 70.6% reduction was observed throughout the European Union, resulting in a €5.1 billion fall in revenues.

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These poor figures are the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced cinemas to shut down and later restrict occupancy for months, both in Europe and globally. The crisis came after an incredibly successful 2019, when the European box office grossed over €8.8 billion and theatres attracted over 1.34 billion cinema-goers.

Another key trend worth mentioning is the sharp increase in the domestic market shares, owing to “the staggered nature of the re-opening process at the global level” and the “continuing postponement of major releases, in particular from the major US studios”. The highest domestic market shares were recorded in Italy (55.6%), Poland (53.2%), Denmark (49.7%), the Czech Republic (46.4%) and France (44.9%).

In addition, the research states that domestic films “helped cushion the impact of the pandemic in several territories, including in Denmark, which suffered the lowest box-office drop in Europe (-42.4%)”.

Meanwhile, the most successful European films released during the reopening periods in 2020 in the EU and the UK turned out to be Santiago Segura’s Father There Is Only One 2 [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(Spain, admissions of 2.3 million), Tarek Boudali’s 30 Jours Max [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(France, admissions of 1.2 million), Pascal Bourdiaux’s Toto [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(France/Luxembourg/Belgium, admissions of 1.1 million), Jeremy Degruson and Ben Stassen’s Bigfoot Family [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ben Stassen
film profile
]
(Belgium/France, admissions of 1 million), and Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(Denmark/Sweden/Netherlands, admissions of 1 million).

In the report’s conclusions, UNIC highlighted: “The last 18 months have undeniably been the most challenging faced by European cinemas in their long history. [However,] the strong performances of cinemas around the world upon re-opening in 2021 sent clear signals that audiences have been reassured of the safety of cinema-going and that they will return if new films are available on the big screen.” UNIC advised “industry partners to remain united” and to ensure “sustainability for all stakeholders in the value chain as well as the availability of films to the benefit of audiences”.

The full report can be accessed here.

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