Back GBO in Europe up to EUR 6.7 billion in 2023, cinema attendance reached 861 million tickets sold

The Observatory has published its annual cinema round-up just before Cannes.
GBO in Europe up to EUR 6.7 billion in 2023, cinema attendance reached 861 million tickets sold
  • Gross box office in wider Europe (Council of Europe member states except Azerbaijan) grew by 22.3% in 2023 compared with 2022, from EUR 5.5 billion to EUR 6.7 billion, down by 12% on pre-pandemic levels. 
  • Barbie (US/GB), The Super Mario Bros. Movie (US/JP), and Oppenheimer (US/GB) topped the European box office year-end chart. Astérix & Obélix: L'Empire du Milieu (FR) shone as the most successful European film of the year.
  • European films accounted for more than a quarter of tickets sold (26.4%), while the market share of American titles achieved a new high of 70.1%.
  • Film production in wider Europe reached 2 347 titles, second-highest figure after 2019. 

The figures in this press release are taken from the 2024 edition of FOCUS – World Film Market Trends, a report which is prepared each year for the Marché du Film. Journalists may request a PDF press copy from [email protected]. FOCUS is available as a free print copy to all Marché attendees from the Observatory’s stand (H1 in the Riviera/Marina section). It’s also free online for all Marché participants on the online platform. It can be purchased after the Marché from the Council of Europe bookshop.  

The upward trend in cinema attendance persists, with admissions growing by 18.3% in 2023 to surpass 860 million.

In the first year unaffected by restrictions related to the now four-year-old global pandemic, cinema attendance in wider Europe (Council of Europe member states except for Azerbaijan, hereafter referred to simply as “Europe”) grew by 18.3%, reaching over 861 million tickets sold, 133 million more than in 2022. These satisfactory results represent a recovery rate of 77.3% in relation to the average admission levels achieved between 2017 and 2019 of 1.1 billion tickets sold.

Admissions in the European Union and United Kingdom (EU27+UK) saw slightly stronger growth, increasing by 19.6% to 784 million. In the region, admission levels remained 20.1% lower than pre-pandemic averages of 982 million tickets.

Inflation and rising ticket prices contributed to better box office revenues. Cinemas across Europe are estimated to have grossed EUR 6.7 billion in 2023, a 22.3% growth compared to 2022 (EUR 5.5 billion). Similarly, box office figures in EU27+UK grew by 22.1%, settling at EUR 6.2 billion.

Despite these positive trends at a macro level, the variance in growth among individual countries remains noteworthy. In 2023, Ukraine (+60.1%), Italy (+59.2%), and Albania (+42.0%) saw the most substantial increases in cinema attendance. Conversely, Czechia (-1.2%), Denmark (-1.9%), and Turkey (-12.9%) were the only countries witnessing a decline. Notably, Georgia and Bosnia & Herzegovina outpaced pre-pandemic attendance levels, boasting recovery rates of 117% and 113%, respectively. However, challenges persist for countries such as Sweden (recovery rate: 68%), Ukraine (50%), and Turkey (46%) in reclaiming pre-pandemic highs.


Barbie sold close to 50 million tickets in 2023. Astérix & Obelix topped the year-end box office chart of European films.

Out of the 13 796 feature films screened in cinemas across Europe in 2023, 14 titles managed to exceed 10 million tickets sold, while 113 (including 39 European productions) achieved over 1 million admissions.

Unsurprisingly, American studio feature films maintained their dominance in the 2023 European theatrical market, once again monopolizing the entire year-end top 20.

Four standout titles attracted significant attention, each surpassing 30 million admissions. Leading the pack was Barbie, selling an impressive 49.3 million tickets. The Warner Bros. blockbuster was followed by The Super Mario Bros. Movie (36.1 million admissions), Oppenheimer (35.1 million admissions), and Avatar: The Way of Water (34.4 million admissions in 2023 alone, accumulating to 69.2 million since its late 2022 release).

The most watched European title of the year was the French production Astérix & Obélix: L'Empire du Milieu, amassing 6.4 million admissions and securing the 25th spot in the year-end chart. C’è ancora domani, an Italian black and white feature set in post-war Rome, ranked as the second European film in terms of admissions, selling close to 4.9 million tickets across only two markets: Italy and Italian-speaking Switzerland. Rounding up the top 5 were the French comedy sequel 2 (4.5 million admissions), the Warner Bros.-backed Spanish animation film Mummies (4.5 million admissions), and the star-studded French epic Les trois mousquetaires: D’Artagnan (4.0 million admissions).


National box office hits helped increase national market shares in 17 countries, while the share of European productions declined to 26.4%.

In 2023, American films achieved an important market share in terms of admissions, exceeding the 70% milestone for the first time in recent years and marking a notable 7.4 percentage point increase from 2022. This remarkable performance by American titles came at the expense of European films and incoming European productions, which experienced respective declines of 3.9 and 3.3 percentage points. Consequently, European films' market share sank to 26.4%, reaching its lowest point in recent history and dropping by 2.4 percentage points compared to pre-pandemic averages. European incoming productions also hit a new low with a mere 0.9% market share, attributed to the absence of successful Studio-backed European releases in 2023, such as those seen in previous years from popular franchises like Harry Potter and James Bond.

Regarding the diversity of offerings, European films maintained a dominant position, constituting over 66% of the total titles available in European cinemas throughout 2023. Meanwhile, American films comprised 19.7% of the offering, with productions from the rest of the world making up 13.2% of the available content.

National market shares within European countries experienced growth in 17 out of the 34 markets with available data. Despite retaining its position as the country with the highest national market share at 44.0%, Türkiye saw a decline of 6.8 percentage points compared to 2022. The United Kingdom ranked second with a market share of 40.8%, including Studio-backed incoming productions like Barbie and Oppenheimer. France followed, holding a national market share of 40.0%, while Albania's market share stood at 31.2%.

In additional to Albania (+13.4pp) and the United Kingdom (+11.2pp), other significant market share increases were observed in Ukraine (14.7%, up by 8.3pp), Iceland (14.3%, up by 9.2pp), and Italy (25.9%, up by 4.7pp). Notable local box office hits that helped achieving the positive results include the animation feature Mavka. Lisova pisnya in Ukraine, which sold over 1.2 million tickets, becoming the country's most successful national release of all time. Similarly, the Icelandic Villibráð, a remake of the Italian 2016’s Perfect Strangers, became the most successful national title in 17 years, with over 56 000 admissions. Finally, the Italian production C'è ancora domani dominated the national box office in 2023, topping the year-end chart with close to 4.9 million tickets sold.


Film production in Europe remained stable, in line with 2022 and pre-pandemic levels.

European feature film production continued its upward trend for the third consecutive year, resulting in 2 347 titles in 2023, marking the second-highest figure after the peak reached in 2019 and an increase of 12 titles compared to 2022. Within this total, fiction films reached a new peak of 1 460 productions, aligning closely with the production levels seen in 2022 (1 456 titles) and 2019 (1 445 titles). Documentary productions also saw a slight uptick, totalling 887 titles and accounting for 37.8% of the total output.

Italy once again topped the charts in terms of production volume in 2023, achieving a new record of 354 feature films. Spain and France followed, securing the second and third positions with 306 and 236 titles, respectively.

Although different methodologies prevent a precise assessment and comparison between countries, available figures suggest that only four countries still have a production volume below 30% compared to pre-pandemic times. Romania, with 32 titles in 2023, experienced a decrease of 30.4% compared to the 2017-2019 averages. Similarly, Belgium and Slovenia released 29 and 12 national titles, reflecting a decline of 34.1% and 35.7%, respectively. Lastly, Bosnia and Herzegovina contributed just 4 titles, marking a decrease of 40.0%.

More detailed information on European as well as international theatrical markets can be found in FOCUS 2024 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) and the support of UNIC and Comscore.
  • All 2023 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 40 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.

European admissions rankings (Tables 2 and 3)

The pan-European film rankings shown in tables 2 and 3 are based on data from all European countries for which results have been stored in the LUMIERE database as of 2nd May 2024. This database, containing admission figures for films released across Europe, is freely accessible online and is the outcome of collaborative efforts between the European Audiovisual Observatory and various specialized national entities, primarily national film funds, along with support from the MEDIA Programme of the European Union. LUMIERE provides detailed country-specific admission data for over 69 000 titles distributed in Europe since 1996, with 2023 data now available for 30 European markets.

Market shares (Table 4)

The market shares are determined through an analysis of film results in Europe, using admissions data for individual films provided to the European Audiovisual Observatory. Establishing such market shares necessitates assigning a single "country of origin" to each film, which can be challenging for international co-productions. In such instances, the Observatory aims to designate the country of origin based on the primary source of financial input and/or creative control. Since 2005, the Observatory has specifically identified films produced in one or more European countries (or elsewhere) with US investment by tagging them as "inc" (incoming investment) in the country of origin attribution. It's important to note that while the LUMIERE database attributes a country of origin to each film, this may occasionally change over time due reassessments or differ from information provided by national sources.

Number of feature films produced in Europe (CoE) (Table 5)

Estimating the total production volume of feature films in Europe remains challenging, primarily due to the risk of double counting co-productions and variations in national data collection methodologies. The European totals include feature-length films intended for theatrical release, excluding minority co-productions and inward investment films in the United Kingdom. For some countries, separate data for feature fiction and feature documentary films may not be available.

Contact at the European Audiovisual Observatory:

Alison Hindhaugh (Press Officer)
[email protected] - tel.: +33 (0) 684352743

Strasbourg 07 May 2024
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