U.K. Box Office Falls for First Time in a Decade

Despicable Me 2 Golden Globes

Numbers drop 1% in 2013 to $1.92 billion with 'Despicable Me 2' leading all sales

LONDON — The U.K. box office fell 1% in 2013 to £1.17 billion ($1.92 billion), according to Rentrak, which reported that this was the first real fall in a decade, and the biggest drop in more than 20 years.

The U.K. gross repped a 6% share of the world’s B.O., and 19% of Europe’s total. It is the fourth biggest B.O. territory in the world, after the U.S., China and Japan.

Warner Bros. led the distributors’ league, with a 16.45% share, followed by Disney (15.29%), Universal (15.09%) and Fox (13.38%).

Indie distrib eOne Films came fifth with a 9.04% share, ahead of Sony (8.72%) and Paramount (7.22%).

They were followed by Lionsgate (4.73%), Studiocanal (2.84%) and Entertainment Film Distributors (2.05%). Other distribs took the remaining 5.13%.

Universal had the top two grossing films during 2013 — “Despicable Me 2,” which grossed $77.9 million,  and “Les Miserables,” which took $66.8 million. They were followed by Disney’s “Iron Man 3” ($60.8 million), Warner’s “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” ($56 million in 2013, although it is still in theaters), and Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” ($53.3 million).

The 1% fall in total U.K. B.O. reps the first real fall in theatrical revenue in the territory since 2003, when it was down 0.3% on 2002, Rentrak reported. Apart from that year, the U.K. has been up every year since Rentrak started tracking in 1991.

2006 was down 0.02% versus 2005, but that was really a flat performance rather than a fall, Rentrak said. 2005’s B.O. was down by 1.6% vs. 2004, but the 2004 figure was for 53 weeks, and 2005’s figure was for 52 weeks — so it was not a like-for-like comparison.

The 2013 fall can be blamed on the lack of a big hitter in comparison with the previous year, which saw a stellar perf by “Skyfall.”

“2012 was particularly strong, with three films grossing over £50 million ($82.1 million) — none achieved this milestone in 2013,” Lucy Jones, Rentrak’s business development director for EMEA, said.

“We also had the biggest film of all time in 2012, ‘Skyfall,’ grossing over £100 million ($164 million). In comparison, 2013’s top release was ‘Despicable Me 2’ on £47 million ($77.9 million).

“This left a big gap to be filled in the latter part of the year, and we didn’t quite make it.”

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  1. tommyflorida says:

    1. If movies are too expensive, maybe YOU can’t afford them but the rest of us can and see the tech/value put forth.
    2. Going to the movies serves a human need to connect with others – a social need that will never go away.
    3. Movies answer the need: “this house is making me crazy – I gotta get out, let’s got to the movies.”

  2. therealeverton says:

    Have to agree that 1% in this economic climate is a bit of a a miracle. That people are still going to the cinema here In such high numbers is impressive. It’s getting far too expensive and films are not given enough room to breathe.

  3. johntshea says:

    -1%!? Who cares? After 20+ years of growth? And NO drop since the 2008 financial crisis? 1% is nothing in the overall scheme of things.

    That so many people in so many places still leave the comfort of their homes and home entertainment systems to go out through weather and traffic to pay to see movies in theaters is a continuing miracle whose demise has been loudly predicted for generations. So much for disruption!

  4. LOL says:

    Going to the cinema is too damn expensive now.

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