For the first time in four years, cumulative GBO in the EU Member States did not pass the EUR 7 billion benchmark in 2018. Based on provisional data, the European Audiovisual Observatory estimates that cumulative GBO takings in the EU fell by 3.3% in 2018 to a total of EUR 6.80 billion: EUR 233.3 million less than in 2017. Not adjusted for inflation, this represents the lowest result since 2014; however, it remains the fourth highest level in the last decade. With the pan-European average ticket price stable at EUR 7.1, the downturn in revenues reflects a drop in the number of tickets sold, as EU cinema attendance fell by 2.9% to 956 million tickets sold, 28.7 million less than in 2017. As in previous years GBO revenues evolved unevenly across the EU, increasing in 12 and decreasing in 11 EU territories, while remaining relatively stable in 3 of the 26 EU markets for which provisional data were available. The decrease in box office receipts was primarily driven by a sizeable dip registered in Germany (-EUR 156.8 million, -14.8%). Among the other four major EU markets, GBO also declined in Italy (-EUR 30.8 million, -5.0%) and France while remaining comparatively stable in Spain (-EUR 5.6 million, -0.9%) and the United Kingdom (+GBP 3.9 million, +0.3%). Conversely, GBO grew in several Central and Eastern European markets, with an upturn in Czech Republic (+13.2%), Lithuania (+10.0%), SIovenia (+10.0%), Croatia (+8.0%), Hungary (+6.3%), and Poland (+5.0%),
Outside the EU, Russian GBO dropped by 4.7%, to RUB 50.9 billion, which still represents the second highest box office result recorded in recent years. For the second year in a row Russia turned out to be the largest European market in terms of admissions, just ahead of France. In Turkey, GBO revenues rose by 3.0% to TRY 896.9, marking a new record high in spite of a slight decline in cinema attendance (-1.1%), due to an increase in the average ticket price.
Superhero franchise Avengers: Infinity Wars led the EU box office charts in 2018
Once again, in 2018 US studio titles took the EU box office charts by storm, accounting for 18 out of the top 20 titles. Superhero blockbuster Avengers: Infinity Wars was the box office winner in 2018, the only title to generate more than 30 million admissions (31.0 million), followed by family animation feature Incredibles 2 (27.9 million). Other successful titles include Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (22.1 million), Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (19.9 million), Black Panther (18.9 million) and Fifty Shades Freed (17.6 million). In line with previous years, 2018 saw a high prevalence of film franchises, with as many as 17 titles out of the top 20 (and 9 titles out of the top 10) being sequels, prequels, spin-off or reboots. In turn, only four films in the top 20 were family animation features, compared to six in 2017 and eight in 2016.
GB inc productions Bohemian Rhapsody and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald were the only two non US films to feature among the top 20 titles, generating 26.4 and 20.2 million admissions respectively. Leaving aside films produced with incoming US studio investment (EUR inc), Johnny English Strikes Again was the top European title for the year with 7.1 million admissions, followed by The Darkest Hour (6.6 million).
European market share rose to 29.4%
In 2018 the EU decline in cinema attendance was mainly driven by a drop in admissions to US films leading to an estimated US market share of 63.2%, down from 66.2% in the previous year. In turn, the market share captured by European films grew from 27.9% to 29.4%. This is the second highest level in the past five years. On a national level, local European films performed particularly well in the United Kingdom (44.8%), France (39.5%), Poland (33.3%) and Denmark (29.8%). Outside the EU, Turkey was the European territory with highest national market share (63.4%).
Spurred by the performance of two GB inc productions among the top 20 films, the market share of films produced with incoming US investment (EUR inc) increased from 4.2% to 5.4%.
EU film production volume increased again
After slowing down in 2017 for the first time, EU production levels rose again last year as the estimated number of European feature films produced in 2018 increased from 1 737 to 1 847. This figure breaks down into an estimated number of 1 142 fiction films (62%) and 705 feature documentaries (38%). The rise in production activity was primarily caused by an increase in the number of international co-productions and feature documentaries.