04/05/2016 : Press release - Box office hit record high in the European Union in 2015

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  • EU gross box office reached a record high of around EUR 7.3 billion in 2015
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Minions topped the EU charts
  • Market share for European films dropped to 26.1%
  • EU film production rose again to over 1 600 feature films
  • Digital screen penetration in the EU remained at 92%

2015 saw EU break gross box office record

Based on provisional data the European Audiovisual Observatory estimates that cumulative GBO in the 28 EU Member States rocketed to around EUR 7.3 billion. This is 16% higher than the previous year and represents – not adjusted for inflation - the highest level on record. GBO growth was driven both by an increase in admissions as well as rising ticket prices: Admissions increased by 7.4% to 976 million tickets sold. This is 67.5 million more than in 2014 and represents the second highest level registered in the EU in the past ten years. Only in 2009 did cinemas in the EU sell more tickets boosted by Avatar and the novelty factor of 3D. The estimated pan-European average ticket price – measured in euros – increased from EUR 7.00 to around EUR 7.50. It is remarkable to note that in 2015 GBO – measured in local currencies – increased in all 26 EU markets for which provisional data are available. This represents the most homogenous growth trend across territories observed in at least the past ten years. The growth in cumulative EU gross box office was particularly boosted by the strong year-on-year performances in the UK and Ireland which registered – also thanks to an appreciation of the British Pound against the Euro – an increase of almost EUR 400 million (+30%) as well as Germany (+EUR 187 million, +19%).

Outside the EU, the Russian Federation confirmed its position as the second largest European market in terms of admissions with 174 million tickets sold and a GBO of RUB 44.1 billion, a 1.9% increase on 2014. As in Russia box office growth in Turkey somewhat levelled out, with admissions falling slightly by 1.5% to 60.5 million and GBO increasing to TRY 681 million (+4%), the highest level in the past few decades.

Box office growth driven by US studio titles

In contrast to 2014, admissions growth was driven primarily by the strong performances of a number of US studio titles which accounted for 18 out of the top 20 performing films in the EU in 2015. The charts were topped by Star Wars: The Force Awakens (39.8 million admissions), Minions (39.5 million), Spectre (37.9 million) and Jurassic World (30.4 million). It is interesting to note that all of these four top films sold more than 30 million tickets in the EU in 2015 while not a single film managed to reach this benchmark in 2013 or 2014. As in previous years box office was dominated by sequels / prequels or spin-offs which accounted for nine out of the top 10 titles. On a cumulative basis, US films took an estimated market share of 64%, slightly up on 2014’s 63.2%. An even bigger boost to box office growth however came from the renewed strength of UK incoming investment films such as Spectre or Kingsman: The Secret Service as the market share of European films produced in Europe with incoming US investment (EUR inc) rose from 0.4% to 7.3%.

Admissions for European films on the other hand declined causing European market share in the EU to drop from its exceptional 2014 record level of 33.5% to an estimated 26.1% as only two European films made it into the top 20, French action thriller Taken 3 (8.9 million admissions) and German comedy Fack ju Göhte 2 (8.6 million). Nevertheless, European films continued to perform well on several national markets - often thanks to the success of a couple of local blockbusters – including France (35.2%), Finland (29.9%), Denmark (29.8%) or Germany (27.5%). Boosted by the success of UK qualifying films such as Star Wars or Spectre, UK films captured a record market share of 44.5% making the UK the EU market with the highest national market share in 2015. UK independent films as defined by the BFI (i.e. excluding films with US studio backing) accounted for 10.6%.

Table 1: GBO, admissions and national market share in European countries 2014 – 2015 prov


Table 2: Top 20 films by admissions in the European Union in 2015 prov (1)


Table 3: Top 20 European films by admissions in the European Union in 2015
(incl. “EUR inc”) prov (1)


Market share for European films at five year’s low

In contrast to 2014, admissions growth was driven primarily by the strong performances of a number of US studio titles. On a cumulative basis, admissions to US films increased by around 50 million leading to an estimated market share of 64%, while the biggest box office boost came from the renewed strength of UK films produced with incoming US investment (GB inc) whose market share rose from 0.4% to 7.3%. Admissions for European films on the other hand, declined causing European market share in the EU to drop from its exceptional 2014 record level of 33.5% to an estimated 26.1%, the lowest level in the past five years.


Table 4: EU market share by country of origin 2011 – 2015 prov

In % of total admissions. Provisional estimates.


EU film production volume continues to grow

After having come to a temporary halt in 2014 EU production levels continued their growth trend of recent years, as the estimated number of European feature film productions increased from 1 593 to 1 643 theatrical films. This figure breaks down into an estimated 1 127 fiction films (69%) and 516 feature documentaries (31%). The increase in production activity was primarily linked to an increasing number of co-productions which accounted for 24% of total production volume in 2015.

Table 5: Number of feature films produced in the European Union 2011 – 2015 prov

Provisional estimates


Digital conversion rate in the EU remains at 92%

According to figures provided by MEDIA Salles the digitisation process in the EU has been more or less completed in the EU. By the end of 2015 a total of 19 EU Member States had converted 90% or more of their screen base. Only three Member States registered digital screen penetration rates below 70%: Estonia (69%), Lithuania (61%) and the Czech Republic (55%). There were a total of 29 705 digital screens by the end of 2015, representing 92% of the EU’s total screen base. This is the same ratio already achieved in 2014.

Table 6: Digital Screens in the European Union 2011 – 2015 prov


More detailed information on European as well as international theatrical markets can be found in FOCUS 2016 World Film Market Trends prepared by the European Audiovisual Observatory for the Cannes Film Market.

Notes for Editors:

  • Data have been collected with the collaboration of the EFARN (European Film Agency Research Network).
  • All 2015 figures are provisional.

The European Audiovisual Observatory, Council of Europe

Set up in December 1992, the European Audiovisual Observatory's mission is to gather and distribute information on the audiovisual industry in Europe. The Observatory is a European public service body comprised of 41 member states and the European Union, represented by the European Commission. It operates within the legal framework of the Council of Europe and works alongside a number of partner and professional organisations from within the industry and with a network of correspondents. In addition to contributions to conferences, other major activities are the publication of a Yearbook, newsletters and reports, the compilation and management of databases and the provision of information through the Observatory's Internet site (http://www.obs.coe.int).

European Union admissions rankings (Tables 2 and 3)

The pan-European film rankings shown in tables 2 and 3 are based on data from all European Union countries for which results have been stored in the LUMIERE database as of 18th April 2016. 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 35 500 films in distribution in Europe since 1996. Partial 2015 data for 24 European countries is now available, including data for the major European Union markets, as well as data for the North American market.

Market shares (Table 4)

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 2015 shown in table 4 are based on the data on admissions to individual films as collected in the LUMIERE database on 18th April 2016. At this date the coverage rate of the database for admissions in the 24 European Union countries for which data is available was of around 90%. Due to various gaps in data collection and delivery in various countries, coverage of 100% of admissions is currently unachievable.

Number of feature films produced in the European Union (Table 5)

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.


Contacts at the European Audiovisual Observatory:

Alison Hindhaugh (Press Officer)
alison.hindhaugh@coe.int - tel.: +33 (0) 3 90 21 60 10


The European Audiovisual Observatory will be present at the Marché du Film, Cannes

Stand 18.02, Level 01
Palais des Festivals
Tel.: +33 (0)4 92 99 81 07

More detailed information can be found in FOCUS 2016 World Film Market Trends compiled by the European Audiovisual Observatory and published by the Marché du Film

FOCUS 2016 will be on sale via our website as of 12 May 2016 (see: http://www.obs.coe.int/shop/focus). We will also be selling it on our stand in Cannes.