Some 910 million tickets sold in EU

LONDON — Cinema attendance in the European Union dipped 2.2% last year, with 910 million tickets sold vs. 931 million in 2006.

Admissions were up on 2005’s 899 million but down significantly on the bumper 2004 total of 1 billion, according to provisional figures released by the European Audiovisual Observatory.

Among the major territories with falling admissions last year were Germany (down 8.2%), Spain (down 7.7%) and France (down 5.6%). Steep dropoffs were seen in some new EU states, such as Hungary (down 13.8%) and Slovakia (down 19.9%).

Some other territories, however, saw notable upticks.

Admissions were up 12.3% in Italy and 3.7% in the U.K. Some new EU countries also saw rising attendance, most notably in Lithuania, where admissions shot up 34% from 2.4 million to 3.2 million.

Against a background of shrinking overall ticket sales, domestic production performed well in many markets. Compared with 2006, market shares for local films increased in 11 of the 17 EU countries for which data is available.

The report asserts that overall B.O. success was underpinned by the audience’s appetite for homegrown product.

Local product fared particularly well last year in the U.K., Italy, the Czech Republic and Poland, where market share for local product leapt 8%, 7.2%, 5.1% and a leading 8.8%, respectively. All four territories saw overall admissions rise.

Market share for local pics dropped most steeply in Germany (down 6.9%), Hungary (down 5.8%) and France (down 8.1%) — all overall admissions losers.

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