The gross box office total in theaters fell 70.4% for cinemas in the EU and UK in 2020, caused by major closures in several markets due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gross ticket sales for the 27 EU Member States and the UK amounted to € 2.13 billion for 2020, compared to € 7.19 billion for 2019.
The decline was most pronounced in the UK, where crude fell to £ 307.1million from £ 1.25bn in 2019, down 75.5%.
The figures were prepared by the European Audiovisual Observatory of the Council of Europe and published in the 2021 edition of the Focus – World Film Market Trends report to coincide with the 2021 Cannes Film Festival next week.
The countries where cinemas suffered the most were Cyprus (box office down 79.5%), Malta (down 78.6%) and Romania (77.4%); while those with smaller declines include Denmark (down 46.5%), Estonia (down 50.8%) and Finland (down 54.5%).
The image was consistent across major European territories such as France (down 70.1%), Italy (down 71.6%), Germany (down 69%) and Spain (down 73.8%).
Entries also fell sharply in all territories, down 75% in the UK, 69.4% in France, 67.9% in Germany, 71% in Italy and 74.3% in Spain.
In the EU and the UK, admissions fell by 70.2%.
Local films are on the rise
However, the news is better for local European productions, which reached a record high of 39.7% of total admissions, up from 26.3% in 2019.
Much of this is due to the delayed release of American hit titles, such as Fast and Furious 9, the American share falling from 68.2% to 49.4%.
The market share of European films reached record levels in several individual markets, including 55.6% in Italy, 50.4% in Denmark, 48.3% in the Czech Republic, 46.5% in the UK and 44 , 9% in France. For non-EU countries, Turkey received the highest market share for local films with 80%.
Film production in the EU and UK also fell in 2020, with production stopping in many countries in March following the large pandemic outbreak, before resuming in early summer. An estimated 1,403 feature films for theatrical release were produced in the EU and UK in 2020, down 30% from the 2019 record high of 2,007.
The first title by admissions across the territory was Sam Mendes’ World War I drama 1917, an Anglo-American co-production which recorded 15.6 million ticket sales. It was released in January 2020, before the effects of the pandemic set in; indeed, only two of the top 20 titles by admissions came out after the first quarter of the year – Christopher Nolan’s Principle (number two with 11.6 million admissions) and the sequel to Roger Kumble’s teen romance After we collide (number 15 with 4.2m).