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Euro Box Office Tops $7B in 2022, Still Well Below Pre-Pandemic Levels



European cinemas showed signs of a return to health last year, with box office revenue jumping from €4.4 billion ($4.7 billion) in 2021 to €6.6 billion ($7.08 billion) last year, according to figures from Gower Street Analytics, a box office analyst. group.

That positive news corresponds with preliminary figures released Wednesday by the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), a European cinema trade association, which show that theater admissions across the continent jumped 36.5 percent compared with 2021, while box office revenue was up 55.6 percent to more than $6 billion.

“The figures clearly show that European cinemas are on the road to full recovery,” said UNIC CEO Laura Houlgatte. “A constant supply of new and diverse titles will be crucial for continuing to drive box office and admissions forward in 2023.”

Early results this year already confirm that positive trend. In January 2023, the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region reported box office revenues of $880 million (€821 million), marking the highest-grossing month since January 2020, before the COVID pandemic shut down theaters across the continent, and across the world.

Gower Street is forecasting EMEA box office to top $7 billion this year, a 7 percent jump on 2022, and global box office to hit $29 billion, 12 percent up on last year.

Hollywood tentpoles were the main driver pulling European audiences back into theaters, with Avatar: The Way of Water, Top Gun: MaverickJJurassic World: Dominion, Minions: the Rise of Gru and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever among the top box office performers in the region. Tom Cruise starrer Top Gun: Maverick was the highest-grossing film in Europe last year, earning $94.6 million (£78.2 million) in the UK, $60 million (€55.7 million) in France and $38 million (€35.5 million) in Germany, respectively. James Cameron’s sci-fi epic Avatar: The Way of Water which bowed late last year in Europe, has earned much of its box office revenue in the first weeks of 2023.

Local titles also played a key role in several territories, with home-grown movies accounting for 40.9 percent of admissions in France, 33.5 percent in the Czech Republic and 26 percent in Denmark.

But compared to the heights achieved before COVID, European cinemas still have a way to go. UNIC figures show admissions last year were down 40.3 percent and box office off 34.4 percent compared with the record levels of 2019.

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