European Children’s Films Outperform Adult Films at Box Office, New Study Says

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Mon, 07/07/2014 - 13:04 -- Nick Dager

The European Audiovisual Observatory has just published a brand new report on the theatrical circulation of European children’s films. The Observatory’s cinema analyst, Martin Kanzler, presented this new report at the KIDS Regio Forum, which took place in Erfurt, Germany June 20th.

The objective of the study is to analyze the theatrical circulation and performance of European fiction, i.e. live action and animation films for children up to 12 years of age compared to non-children fiction films based on a sample analysis of 648 children’s films and over 8 700 non-children fiction films which covers the period from 2004-2013.

Key findings of the sample analysis:

About 70 children’s films per year take 11 percent share of the European films’ admissions cake

A total of 648 European children’s fiction films could be identified which were produced and released between 2004 and 2013. Broken down by production year, this means that an average of about 70 theatrical feature fiction films - 40 live action and 30 animation films – were produced every year in the 40 European markets covered by the European Audiovisual Observatory in this ten year time frame.

On a cumulative basis these children’s films generated an estimated total of 373 million admissions in Europe between 2004 and 2013. This represents around 11 percent of all admissions to European films. In other words, at least one out of ten tickets sold to a European film, was sold to a children’s film.

European children’s films outperform more grown-up content

As a control group, a total of over 8 700 non-children’s fiction films were analyzed. With estimated median admissions of 142 000, European children’s films outperformed non-children’s fiction films (with an average 29 000 entries per film) by a factor of almost five.

Crossing borders – European children’s films circulate better than their grown-up counterparts

Children’s films travel comparatively well in Europe. Almost 71 percent of all European children’s films produced in the sample period achieved distribution in at least one non-national market. This compares with an “export rate” of only 49 percent for European non-children’s films. Furthermore, children’s films were released on an average of 3.4 non-national markets, compared to 2.2 for other European fiction films.

Children’s animation films travel significantly better than live action films

While children’s animation films were released in 4.6 non-national European territories on average, live action films only achieved export to an average of 2.6 non-national markets. On a cumulative basis children’s animation films generated half of their total admissions on non-national markets, compared to 29 percent in the case of live action children’s films. The data hence clearly illustrate that European children’s animation films travel comparatively well, while live action films primarily depend on their domestic markets as they struggle more to circulate abroad.

The report includes a comprehensive title-by-title admissions list for all 648 European children’s films identified in the period 2004-2013.

Link to film of Kanzler's presentation of this report at the Cine Regio event in Erfurt.

The European Audiovisual Observatory