Cinema attendance in Europe increased by about a third year-on-year in 2022, but remains well below pre-pandemic levels, according to provisional figures released on Wednesday by the International Union of Cinemas, UNIC.
“Compared with 2019’s record year, estimated admissions in 2022 across Europe were down 40.3% and box office was an estimated 34.4% lower,” UNIC noted in a statement.
This was due, it said, to Covid-related restrictions that lasted until June 2022 in some countries, low numbers of film releases, and the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Compared to the nightmare year of 2021, however, admissions were up by at least 36.5% and box office revenues by 55.6%.
The rebound has been particularly strong in countries such as Austria, the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Slovenia, while major markets such as France, Germany and the UK “continue to narrow the gap from pre-pandemic levels,” but the recovery is “slower” in Spain or Italy.
While the rebound has been driven by US blockbusters such as ‘Avatar: The Way of the Water’ and ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’ domestic cinema “also played a key role in 2022’s success,” Unic says.
This is particularly true in France, where local films claimed 40% of the market, and to a lesser extent in the Czech Republic (33%), Denmark (26%) and Finland (25%).