European Box Office Results Mixed in 2012

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Wed, 02/13/2013 - 19:00 -- Nick Dager

The European Audiovisual Observatory — part of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg — has published its provisional figures for European cinema in 2012. Overall European cinema admissions are estimated to have fallen by 0.9 percent but a number of territories particularly the Nordics Russia and Turkey showed strong gains. The biggest increase was registered by Bosnia & Herzegovina (+37.9 percent) while Russia was up 5.8 percent Turkey 3.9 percent and Finland led the Nordic group at +19 percent. The overall decline was slightly larger for the EU where admissions decreased by 2.4 percent. The top four EU territories (France UK Germany and Italy) together accounting for almost two-thirds of EU admissions declined by 2.8 percent in 2012 with reductions in France and Italy outweighing gains in the UK and Germany. The northern and some eastern areas of Europe showed increases while France and Southern Europe showed declines: Cyprus - 5.7 percent Spain - 6.5 percent Slovenia -8.3 percent Italy -9.9 percent and Portugal -12.3 percent. The decline in Southern Europe reflected a shortage of local hits as well as the wider economic recession. Higher rates of online piracy may also have contributed to the decline. 2012 data illustrate once more the volatility of the film market and the impact of national success on annual results. For example eight out of the top 12 films in Turkey were Turkish films and two out of the top 15 films in Finland were sequels to popular family films  Ricky Rapper and Cool Wendy and Niko 2 – Little Brother Big Trouble. In Norway the Norwegian hit Kon Tiki was the number one film of the year while in Denmark local hits This Life  Love Is All You Need and A Royal Affair took second third and fifth positions. Many territories reported weak summer admissions but these were followed by a strong finish to the year with films such as Skyfall  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey  The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 and Life of Pi. Skyfall was a huge hit in the latter part of 2012 eclipsing all previous films of the UK/USA James Bond franchise and earning more than GBP 100 million in the UK to become the UK’s best-ever box office performer. Since 2009 there has been a slight downward trend in European Union admissions the average rate of change being -1.2 percent per year: Overall the European market was subdued in 2012 compared with other major international cinema markets with press reports of box office gains of 5.9 percent in the USA 33 percent in China (making China the world number two territory after the USA) and 7.7 percent in Japan though in the case of Japan recovery from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami was a factor.