- In 2019, admissions to European non-national films decreased by 8% in Europe, while increasing in extra-European markets.
- The growth in admissions to European export films was the result of a jump in admissions to European films in the US which confirmed its position as the largest export market for European films.
- Germany and France were the top export markets for European films in Europe, generating respectively 12.2 million and 11.6 million admissions to non-national European films.
- In 2019 UK films dominated European film exports, accounting for 13% of European film exports on release and 44% of total non-national admissions to European films worldwide.
The European Audiovisual Observatory has just released an updated edition of the report "The Circulation of European Films in non-national markets – Key figures 2019". This study, authored by Patrizia Simone, Film Analyst in the Observatory’s Department for Market Information, looks at the volume and theatrical performance of European films in non-national markets, i.e. theatrical film exports. The study sample includes 48 markets, including 34 European and 14 non-European territories. The analysis is based on 2019 data and complemented by a five-year data series for the period 2015 to 2019.
Note: In this analysis “European” refers to the 47 member states of the Council of Europe.
The number of European film exports continued to increase in 2019
In 2019 an estimated total of 3 954 European films were on theatrical release in at least one non-national market worldwide. This is the largest number of non-national European films on release in the past five years and represents about 51% of the total number of European films tracked to be on release globally.
Admissions to European export films dwindled in European markets but rose outside Europe
European export films cumulatively sold around 180 million admissions in non-national markets in 2019, representing 41% of total admissions to European films worldwide. These levels are well in line with 2018 but significantly below the values registered in 2015 and 2017.
Of these 180 million total admissions to European export films, 86 million were generated in non-national markets in Europe, down 8% from 94 million in 2018, marking a five-year low. Conversely, outside of Europe admissions to European export films rose to 94 million tickets in 2019 (8 million more than in 2018), thus accounting for 52% of total export admissions for the year.
The US was the top export market for European films in 2019
As export admissions declined in most non-national territories in 2019, interannual growth can be ascribed to a hike in ticket sales to European films in the US. With a total of 36.1 million ticket sales to European films (+36% and +11.1 million on 2018), the US confirmed its position of top export market for European films, generating as much as 20% of total export admissions for the year. This compares to 20.4 million admissions in China (11%) where ticket sales to European films dropped below the five-year average value. Accounting for 7% (12.2 million) Germany took third position following at a clear distance, ahead of France (11.6 million) and Mexico (11.5 million).
UK films dominated European film exports in 2019
UK and French films cumulatively accounted for 37% of export films and 62% of total admissions to European export films in 2019. UK films took the lion’s share as alone they accounted for 44% of total non-national admissions to European films worldwide, despite representing only 13% of European film exports on release in 2019. Conversely, French export films (24% of export films on release) accounted for only 18% of global non-national admissions to European films.