European Box Office in 2020 Dropped by 70% While Local Films’ Market Share Rose by 40%, Says UNIC Report

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The International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) has unveiled its annual report highlighting recent developments within Europe’s theatrical industry during the pandemic. The org looks at 43,000 screens across 38 territories for its study.

This year’s findings, presented during exhibition trade show CineEurope, show that European movie theaters suffered a 70.4% year-on-year drop to €2.6 billion ($3 billion) in box office revenue in 2020. In terms of admissions, there was an annual drop of 68.4% to 430 million tickets sold.

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UNIC estimates that as much as €4.5 billion ($5.2 billion) were lost in other revenues for the European industry.

European theaters were on a path of steady growth when they were hit by the pandemic, having increased by 34% between 2000 to 2019 during the last two decades. 2019 was a particularly strong year as European cinemas grossed over €8.8 billion at the box office and attracted more than 1.34 billion cinema-goers.

While cinemas were shut down for most of the year and U.S. blockbusters deserted screens, the market share of European films rose to 39.7%, compared with 25.7% in 2019 and 29.4% in 2018.

The European Union’s top five territories in terms of market share for national films were Italy (55.6%), Poland (53.2%), Denmark (49.7%), France (44.9%) and the Czech Republic (46.4%).

The Spanish comedy “Padre no hay más que uno 2: La llegada de la suegra” and the French comedy “30 jours max” were the top two most successful European films of the year, with 2.3 million and 1.2 million admissions, respectively; followed by the French family film “Les blagues de Toto” with 1.1 million admissions; Ben Stassen’s animated feature “Bigfoot Family” and Thomas Vinterberg’s Oscar-winning Danish film “Drunk” with 1 million admissions each.

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