European admissions rise 3%

Tickets sold in 24 EU countries total 907 million

ROME — Admissions across the European Union rose an average of 3.4% last year to a total 907 million tickets sold in 24 territories, according to EU movie data entity Media Salles, after an 11% plunge in 2005.

The 2006 uptick is due in large part to boffo moviegoing in France and Germany and across a swath of continental Europe. Italy remained stable, and attendance in Blighty and Spain dropped.

France is Europe’s top ticket seller, with 188 million admissions in 2006, up 8.2%.

Smaller Euro territories with positive attendance indicators include Finland, up 12%; Austria, up 10.6%; the Netherlands, up 9.1%; Ireland, up 8.9%; Belgium, up 8.7%; and Switzerland, up 8.5%.

“Though the increase is encouraging, it did not live up to expectations during the first semester, when several territories had experienced double-digit growth,” noted the report.

Blighty and Spain both saw admissions drop 4.9% in 2006, with Spain reaching a rock-bottom 121.4 million tickets sold, the country’s lowest tally since 1998. Attendance in the U.K. stood at 156.6 million last year.

Several territories in Eastern Europe saw double-digit attendance growth, notably Poland, up 28%; the Slovak Republic, up 55.7%; and Estonia, up 40.1%.

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