Market Insight

A brief review of the 2017 cinema exhibition market in Europe

February 07, 2018

Xin Zhang Xin Zhang Senior Research Analyst, Cinema

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The 2017 cinema-going industry in Europe has a mixed picture from territories that have reported their results so far. Western Europe saw a decline in cinema visits in 2017. Italy and Norway have suffered the most. Central and Eastern Europe, however, paints a more optimistic picture with a majority of the territories having reported a positive growth. In terms of box office revenue, the picture is much better, driven by the increasing average ticket price and inflation.

The UK had another record year with box office reaching a historical high of £1,278 million ($1,645 million), a 4.1% year-on-year rise. A total of 170.6 million tickets were sold, slightly above the 2016 total. The result is particularly impressive given that 2016 was a 53-week year, while 2017 was a 52-week year. Star Wars: The Last Jedi was the biggest hit in the market with £69.3 million ($89.2 million) in earnings.

The cinema market in France has been stable over the past few years. 2017 only dropped slightly by 2% for both box office and admissions. Local titles Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and R.A.I.D. Special Unit were the most viewed local films in 2017.

Box office in Germany went back into growth in 2017, but the rise was largely driven by an increase in the average ticket price, as cinema admissions dropped to a historical low of 118.1 million. Germany had a bad year in 2016, with box office and admissions dropping more dramatically by 12.3% and 13% respectively. It seems the market needs more strong titles to recover.

Italy and Norway suffered the most with cinema admissions dropping by 12.4% and 10.1%, respectively. A lack of local hits was one of the reasons. Local market share in Italy fell from 29.1% in 2016 to 17.6% in 2017, while Norwegian films only managed to gain an 18% market share in 2017, down from 23.9% last year.

The cinema market in Central and Eastern Europe continues to grow with most of the territories enjoying a good year in 2017. Russia continues to grow with cinema attendance increasing by 11.3%, and box office rising by 13.7% in local currency. Exchange rate is still an issue in the market which leads to a lower value in US dollars.

Poland (7.5% in admissions and 12.3% in box office), Slovakia (17.5% in admissions and 18.3% in box office), Romania (11.3% in admissions and 14.1% in box office) and Estonia (6.7% in admissions and 9.5% in box office) all posted a significant growth in 2017. 

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