EU gross box office inches to new record high of EUR 6.4 billion in 2011
2011 was a year of stabilisation at the European box office as the marked upward trend of GBO of the past two years slowed down significantly, resulting nevertheless in an overall year-on-year increase. Based on provisional data the European Audiovisual Observatory estimates that EU gross box office returns increased marginally by 0.7% from EUR 6.37 billion to EUR 6.4 billion, still the highest level on record. Cinema attendance remained stable with an estimated 962 million tickets sold.
Though the number of 3D releases as well as 3D screens increased notably in 2011, the format seemed to be maturing in some markets like the UK, where, despite an increasing number of 3D releases - from 28 in 2010 to 47 in 2011 - 3D share dropped from 24% to 20% of total GBO. As a result 3D failed to further swell average ticket prices as had been the case in 2009 and 2010, with the EU-wide average ticket price increasing by only 0.5% to EUR 6.6.
On the level of individual European markets, 2011 cinema-going trends varied significantly, with admissions decreasing in 11 and increasing in 15 EU markets for which data were available, while GBO increased in 14 and decreased in 12 markets. Theatrical markets which performed particularly well were France (GBO record up 4.7%), the UK (+5.2%) and Germany (+4.1%) while Spain and Italy experienced a significant decline in both admissions as well as GBO.
More detailed information on European as well as international theatrical markets can be found in FOCUS 2012 World Film Market Trends prepared by the European Audiovisual Observatory for the Cannes Film Market.
Table 1: GBO, admissions and national market share in European countries 2010 – 2011 e
Comeback for European films
2011 saw European films claiming back market share which they had lost to US 3D blockbusters in 2009 and 2010. Based on provisional figures, estimated market share for European films in the EU climbed from 25.2% to 28.5% in 2011, back to the ‘pre-3D’ levels of 2007 and 2008. Market share for US films (1) on the other hand fell from 68.5% to an estimated 61.4%. This would be lowest level since 2001. Market share for European films produced in Europe with incoming US investment, such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and The King’s Speech, increased from 5.0% to 8.4%.
The comeback of European films was mainly thanks to a series of local comedies such as Intouchables (FR), The Inbetweeners (UK), Kokowääh (DE) or Che bella giornata (IT), all of which performed extremely well, particularly on their home markets. As a result national market share increased in 15 of the 23 EU member states for which data were available, eight of which achieved the highest market share in the past five years. French films once more attracted the largest number of admissions among European films, accounting for 10.5% of total EU admissions. Backed by strong results in their home market, Italian films ranked second, taking 4.6%, followed by German and UK productions which accounted for 3.7% of total admissions in the EU in each case.
Table 2: EU market share by country of origin 2007 – 2011e
(in % of total admissions)
EU film production levels keep growing
EU production levels continued to grow to 1 285 feature films in 2011, 59 films more than in 2010 and a new record high. Growth was driven both by an increase in fiction, up 26 films, as well as feature documentaries, up 33 films. Total production volume splits into 915 fiction films (71% of total feature films) and at least 370 feature documentaries (29%). With over 200 national initiative feature films produced in 2011, France and the UK were the countries with the highest production levels in Europe.
Table 3: Number of feature films produced in the European Union 2007 - 2011e
France and UK are Europe’s largest digital cinema markets
Boosted by a unique legislative approach making distributor contributions mandatory, France made the most rapid progress in digitising its screen base and further strengthened its position as Europe’s largest digital cinema market with a total of 3 656 digital screens by the end of 2011, by far the largest digital screen base in Europe. The UK and Germany followed at a distance with 2 724 and 2 303 digital screens, while there were around 1 500 digital screens in the remaining three major European theatrical markets of Spain, Italy and the Russian Federation.
With 72% of its total screens converted to digital at end 2011, the UK had the highest digital screen penetration among the six major European markets, ahead of France (67%). With 50% and 54% Germany and Russia followed at a distance but were well ahead of Spain and Italy where roll-out did not grow at comparable speed and only 39% and 38% of the total screen based digitised by the end of 2011.
Table 4: Top 5 countries by number of digital screens 2011
"Harry Potter" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" sequels top the European Union charts in 2011
As in many other world markets, sequels and spin-offs featured prominently in the 2011 European Union box office charts. Led by the latest instalments of Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Twilight Saga, a total of 13 sequels/ prequels/ spin-offs made it into the top 20. With over 37.5 million tickets sold Harry Potter became the best selling film in the EU, followed by Pirates (25.1 million) and Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (22 million).
No doubt boosted by success at the Oscars, The King’s Speech became the second most watched European film (19.8 million tickets sold) after Harry Potter, both UK inward investment films financed by a US studio. The most successful European films without incoming US investment were French comedies Intouchables and Rien à déclarer, attracting an audience of 15.7 million and 9.8 million viewers respectively across the EU, followed by UK comedies Johnny English Reborn and The Inbetweeners Movie.
Table 5: Top 20 films by admissions in the European Union in 2011 prov
Table 6: Top 20 European films by admissions in the European Union in 2011 prov
(2) The European Digital Cinema Report is jointly published by the European Audiovisual Observatory and MEDIA Salles. Data refer uniquely to screens equipped with DLP Cinema or SXRD technology. More information here.
More detailed information can
be found in FOCUS
2012. World Film Market Trends compiled by the European Audiovisual
Observatory and published by the Marché du Film.
Notes for Editors:
Audiovisual Observatory, Council of Europe
Market shares (Table 2)
The market shares shown in this figure are based on an analysis of results of films released in member states of the European Union for which admissions data for individual films are made available to the European Audiovisual Observatory. In order to draw up such market shares, a single 'country of origin' must be attributed to each film, an attribution that can prove difficult in the case of international productions. In these cases the Observatory's aim is to attribute a country of origin corresponding to the source of the majority financial input and/or creative control of the project. Since 2005 the Observatory has identified specifically films that have been produced in one or more European countries (or elsewhere) with US investment by using the reference 'inc' (incoming investment) in the country of origin attribution. It should be noted, however, that the availability of further information may occasionally lead to changes in the attribution of country of origin and that the origin of a film as attributed in the LUMIERE database may not always be identical with that indicated by national sources.
The provisional data on market shares in the European Union in 2011 shown in table 2 are based on the data on admissions to individual films as collected in the LUMIERE database on 20th April 2012. At this date the coverage rate of the database for admissions in the 23 European Union countries for which data is available was of around 88%. Due to various gaps in data collection and delivery in various countries, coverage of 100% of admissions is currently unachievable. For 2011, LUMIERE has still to include additional data on the following EU countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Romania and Slovakia.
Number of feature films produced in the European Union (Table 3)
Estimating the total volume of production of feature films in the European Union remains difficult, chiefly due to the risk of double counting of co-productions and to differing national methodologies for the collection of this data. Included in the total for the European Union are feature-length films intended for theatrical exploitation, excluding minority co-productions and US and foreign production in the United Kingdom. For some countries no separate data are available for feature fiction and feature documentary films.
European Union admissions rankings (Tables 5 and 6)
The pan-European film rankings shown in tables 5 and 6 are drawn up using information stored in the LUMIERE database as of 20th April 2012. This database on admissions to films released in Europe is available on-line and free-of-charge, and is the result of collaboration between the European Audiovisual Observatory and various specialised national sources as well as the MEDIA Programme of the European Union. LUMIERE provides country-by-country analysis of admissions for about 30 000 films in distribution in Europe since 1996. Partial 2011 data for 22 European countries is now available, including data for the major European Union markets, as well as data for the North American market. The rankings (Tables 5 and 6) shown in this press release are based on data from all European Union countries for which results have been received.