We knew it was bad. Now it’s official.
The European box office plunged 70.4% last year, down $ 6.04 billion (€ 5.1 billion) from $ 8.5 billion (€ 7.2 billion) euros) in 2019 to 2.5 billion dollars (2.1 billion euros) last year, according to figures released Thursday by the European Audiovisual Observatory.
The coronavirus pandemic forced theaters to close in the European Union and the United Kingdom in 2020, causing a seismic impact on ticket sales. Cinemas across most of Europe were closed in March 2020 and were only allowed to reopen with capacity limitations and other strict restrictions from early summer to the start of the second COVID wave in Europe in late autumn.
Even when open, many theaters suffered from a chronic lack of new films as most Hollywood studios and local independents withheld titles.
The result was broadly similar across the continent. UK admissions fell 70.2% to 300 million tickets, from more than 1 billion in 2019, with a box office down 70.4% to $ 2.4 billion. The French box office fell 70.1% to $ 513 million. Germany fell 69% to $ 377 million, Italy 71.6% to $ 225 million and Spain 73% to $ 191 million. The smallest year-over-year decline was seen in Denmark, which was down 46.5% from 2019 levels to $ 100 million, a decline tempered by the success of releases local, in particular the Oscar-winning comedy-drama by Thomas Vinterberg. Another round.
War drama by Sam Mendes 1917, published before the first lockdown, and Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi puzzler Principle, the only major studio film released after theaters reopened this summer, were the top two performers in Europe last year, selling 15.6 million and 11.6 million tickets respectively in the EU and the UK. United.
The only other film to have sold over 10 million tickets in the region last year was Will Smith / Martin Lawrence-starrer Bad boys for life, also released ahead of the COVID-19 lockdown, which recorded 10.5 million entries. By comparison, in 2019 some 18 films sold more than 10 million admissions in the EU and UK, led by The Lion King with 51.6 million admissions.
There are encouraging signs that the European box office could rebound.
Entrances to French theaters, open since mid-May, have been equal to or better than pre-pandemic figures and returns to the UK, Spain, Poland and the Netherlands have been equally encouraging. Theaters in Germany, most of which have been closed since the country’s second shutdown began last October, open today, July 1.