MEDIA Salles reports overall positive trends in European cinemas

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MEDIA Salles once again reports a positive global trend for 2017 in the 36 countries where cinema attendance figures are already available: Audiences have grown again, reaching a figure of 1,329.4 million with a 2.1% increase over the 1,302.1 in 2016.

Nonetheless, different trends emerge in Western Europe and in Central and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean Rim.

The 18 Western countries, with a total 881.9 million admissions, reveal a dip of 1.5%, losing over 13 million spectators. In contrast, in the other 18 territories growth continues, rising by 10.1% to a total of 447.4 million tickets compared to the 406.4 million in 2016.

Western Europe

The dip that seems to emerge from the overall figures for Western Europe nevertheless conceals differing trends in the various countries, with some markets showing increases of up to 6% and others recording losses over 10%.

These differences can be found in Western Europe’s five leading markets, too. France, confirming its position as Western Europe’s top market despite losing around four million spectators (-1.8%), recorded its third-best result since 1968. A decidedly larger dip is recorded in Italy, where the MEDIA Salles estimates for screens active for at least 60 days a year yield 98.5 million spectators, with an approximately 12% decrease, which can be attributed largely to the drop in the number of tickets sold by Italian films. According to Cinetel figures, their market share slid from 28.7% in 2016 to 18.3% in 2017.

As for Spain, the situation is basically stable, since the MEDIA Salles estimates point to 101.2 million spectators, pared down slightly with respect to the 101.8 million in 2016 (-0.6%). More positive results can be seen in Germany, where the MEDIA Salles estimates settle at 123 million spectators, showing a 1.6% rise, and the United Kingdom, which gained over two million spectators (+1.4%), once again crossing the 170-million-ticket threshold.

A plus sign is also recorded for the Netherlands (+5.3%), bordering on 36 million spectators and continuing the positive series of results that has led them to double their admissions since the mid-’90s. Also on the rise are Portugal (+4.4%) and Ireland (+2.1%): Both countries better thresholds they had not managed to cross since 2011. Portugal concludes well beyond the 15-million-spectator mark, Ireland beyond 16 million. Finland, too, records a positive trend, where estimates indicate a rise of around 3.6%.

Overall stability is to be found in Switzerland, which, according to the figures available to date, equals its 2016 result (13.5 million spectators); in Belgium, where the figures are, however, estimates only, and Greece, where a 0.7% rise is expected.

But audiences diminish in Austria (-1.9%, according to the MEDIA Salles estimates), Sweden (-3%), Iceland (-3.4%) and Denmark (-3.8%). A sharper dip occurred in Norway, which failed to repeat the excellent 2016 result (13.1 million spectators), closing at approximately 11.8 million and dropping by 10.3%, and in the small market of Liechtenstein (-17.6%).

Central and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean Rim

In this part of Europe, which saw an overall growth rate of 10.1%, audiences are on the rise almost everywhere, though to differing extents. Among the territories that increased more than average in 2017, the Serbian Republic stands out (+27.7%), followed by the large market constituted by Turkey, whose audiences cross the 70-million threshold for the first time (71.2 million), with a 22.1% rise, also linked to the opening of new movie theatres. An exceptional growth rate was recorded for the Slovakian Republic (+18.1%). Closer-to-average increases were recorded for Lithuania (+10.7%) and Russia, which, up by 9.8%, counts a total 213.6 million spectators. It thus becomes the Continent’s leading cinema market, overtaking France for the first time.

Next comes Poland, growing by 8.7% and even bettering the exceptional result obtained in 2016. Also on the rise are Romania (around +7.4%, with growth uninterrupted since 2007), Estonia (+6.7%), Croatia (+5.7%) and Hungary (+2.1%) touching on 15 million spectators, a result that has not been obtained since the early 2000s.

More or less stable are Bulgaria (-0.2%) and Cyprus (+0.7%). Counter-trends come instead from Slovenia (-1.4%), Latvia (-1.6%) and the Czech Republic (-2.5%). The latter country nonetheless remains beyond the flattering threshold of 15 million spectators gained in 2016.

New this year

For the first time, the MEDIA Salles statistics also present figures for Georgia, the Ukraine and Montenegro, all territories that grew from 2016 to 2017, by respectively 12.4%, 3.4% and 2.4%.

An overall picture of the highest-grossing domestic films in 2017 has also been added. In several countries, these films take first or second place in the overall classifications, significantly contributing to the number of tickets sold. This, for example, is the case in Lithuania, Poland, Turkey and Finland. Another result to be highlighted is that of the Russian film Posledniy Bogatyr, ranking second in the country and seen by over seven million moviegoers.

All the 2017 figures published here should be considered provisional.