Admissions figures for 2018 confirm the crucial role of domestic films
On 6 February we published the 2018 figures on admissions to European cinemas. As you will probably remember, the 36 countries for which MEDIA Salles reported statistics revealed an overall dip of 3.9%, after a decidedly positive 2017. However, this hiccup did not affect all countries: positive or even record results were to be seen on a variety of territories, even with very different characteristics. If, on the one hand, experts in the sector are well aware that cinema-going is subject to regular cycles of what the English define "an attack of hiccups", referring to their sporadic nature, on the other, we must not fail to investigate which factors have influenced these dips or, vice-versa, increases in spectators. And although - with figures that are not yet complete or definitive - this investigation may appear premature, both factors external to the sector and other, more specific ones can be identified. Amongst the former, the climate is certainlyone: the early arrival and/or persistence of fine weather and high temperatures in the summer months, even in Northern Europe, certainly encouraged leisure activities to favour the open air. Just as the coincidence with the World Cup football championship may have negatively influenced peoples' inclination to visit the cinema. Certain social or political phenomena may also influence cinema-going: it seems no coincidence, for example, that on the six Saturdays of protests by the gilets jaunes at the end of 2018, Parisian movie theatres recorded fewer admissions than the previous year. On the other hand, even in this initial stage of analysis, the fact once again emerges that an offer of domestic films with strong popular appeal can have a positive effect on cinema-going. Amongst the countries that closed 2018 with a plus sign, appears Denmark, for instance, which, after two negative years, grows by +4%: here a domestic film won an overall first place in terms of admissions, accounting for 5.9% of ticket sales. Not only this, but another 5 Danish titles were placed amongst the top 20. A similar situation was to be seen in Norway, which also recovers spectators (+3%) after a negative 2017. Here, the top-performing domestic film in terms of admissions secured 4.9% of ticket sales, coming in second place in the overall classification. In this country, too, domestic films proved to be a winning team: in all - amongst the top 20 - there were 5 of them. In Iceland (+ 5.2%) the top domestic film for admissions achieved 3.7%, coming in fourth place in the top 20, where 3 more domestic titles appeared. Moving to Central-Eastern Europe, it is impossible, in Poland (+5.3% and a record figure for admissions touching on 60 million), not to acknowledge the exceptional result obtained by Kler, the absolute winner with an audience share equal to 8.7%. And there are as many as 4 domestic films in the top 10! An even better result in the Serb Republic, which grows 7.9%, was achieved by Juzni Vetar (South Wind), which accounted for 13.5% of the tickets sold. In the Baltic States 2018 was an exceptionally good year for Lithuania (+6.3%) and for Estonia (+3.4%). In both cases the most widely viewed titles were domestic films: the Lithuanian title obtained 5.6% of admissions, the Estonian 4%. And in these two countries, too, there were four domestic films amongst the top 10.
Moreover, if Turkey, which also closes 2018 with a minus sign, limits its dip to 1.1%, it is perhaps thanks to Muslum, the domestic film which, totalling over 6 million spectators, accounted for 9% of ticket sales and came top in terms of the most widely viewed films.
The importance of a core of domestic films in drawing audience segments different from blockbuster fans into the cinemas therefore seems to be confirmed.