In 2018, a total of 696 European films were theatrically released in at least one of the 15 non-European markets, a new report shows. This is the largest number of European films released outside Europe in the past five years and represents about nine percent of the total number of European films on release worldwide. European films represented 18 percent of the tracked number of films on release in the 15 non-European sample markets. The European Audiovisual Observatory has released an updated edition of the report entitled The Circulation of European films outside Europe.
The study looks at the volume and the theatrical performance of European films in 15 non-European sample markets, including North America, six Latin American markets, five Asian markets, as well as Australia and New Zealand. The analysis is based on 2018 data and complemented by a five-year data series for the period 2014 to 2018.
In 2018 European films cumulatively sold about 87 million tickets in the 15 international sample markets, down 15 percent on the previous year, and generated an estimated gross box office of 496 million Euros. These levels are well in line with 2014 and 2016 but significantly below the values registered in 2015 and 2017.
The year-on-year decline is primarily due to a drop of admissions to European films in China where in 2018 only one European film, Johnny English Strikes Again, managed to sell more than five million tickets compared to three such films in 2017: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Paddington 2, and Contratiempo. As a consequence, admissions to European films in China dropped from 36 million to 20 million while remaining stable at around 67 million in the other 14 international markets covered in the report.
Admissions generated in non-European markets represented 19 percent of estimated global admissions to European films and 48 percent of their total non-national admissions in 2018 2018 saw the US reclaim its long-established position as the largest export market for European films in terms of admissions, from China, which – largely thanks to the exceptional success of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – become the largest export market for European films in 2017. Growing 10 percent over 2017, European films sold 26.5 million tickets in the US in 2018, which represents 30 percent of total admissions to European films outside Europe. This compares to 20.0 million admissions in China (23 percent), 12.4 million in Mexico (14 percent), 5.6 million in Australia (6 percent) and 4.3 million in Brazil (5 percent).
Breaking European film exports down by country of origin, it is evident that UK and French films dominate European film exports outside of Europe: cumulatively they accounted for one in two export films, and 74 percent of total admissions to European films outside Europe, in 2018. This is significantly higher than 2017 (66 percent) but well in line with 2016 (72 percent) and even low compared to 2015 (87 percent). The year 2018 was exceptional in the sense that UK films alone accounted for 64 percent of total admissions to European films outside Europe, while French export films performed comparatively poorly, accounting for only 10 percent. This dominance of UK films is also reflected in the composition of the top 20 European films in terms of international admissions: Led by Johnny English Strikes Again – which became the most successful European export film outside Europe in 2018 selling 9.3 million tickets - UK films accounted for eight out of the top 10 and 13 out of the top 20 European export films in 2018.