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Study has faith in global B.O. bounce

Outlook good although numbers dipped last year

The global box office fell by 6% in 2005 but is forecast to grow by 12% over the next five years, according to a new report from Informa Telecoms & Media.

Informa’s “Global Film: Exhibition & Distribution” estimated worldwide B.O. dipped to $22.3 billion last year, down from $23.7 billion in 2004.

Report predicts the figure will hit $24.9 billion in 2010, though admissions will not regain their 2004 levels by the end of the decade. Ticket sales fell to 7.8 billion this year from 8.4 billion in 2004 and will rebound to 8.2 billion by 2010, Informa said.

“In 2005, global admissions fell to levels last experienced in 2000,” said the report’s editor, Adam Thomas. “Increasing ticket prices have reduced the impact on box office, but takings were still down.”

Perhaps surprisingly, the report suggested the geographical split of box office earnings has not substantially changed over the past 10 years and will not alter at all over the next five.

North America accounted for 45% of global B.O. in 2005, down slightly from 46% in 2000 but up from 43% in 1995. Informa predicted that share will remain constant at 45% in 2010.

Europe has gained share marginally since 1995 — up to 30% from 28% — at the expense of the Asia-Pacific region, which has dropped from 23% a decade ago to 18% last year.

There has been a more marked shift in admissions. Asia-Pacific still accounts for the majority of ticket sales, but its share has fallen from 72% in 1995 to 60% last year. In the same period, Europe has risen from 10% to 14% of total admissions, Latin America from 2% to 4% and North America from 16% to 21%.

Those splits will remain virtually unchanged by 2010, per the report.

According to Thomas, these forecasts are based on the assumption that the Hollywood studios will raise their creative game in response to competition from alternative forms of entertainment.

“In recent years there has been a perception of film quality following a two-year cycle — with a strong year being followed by a weak year,” he said. “In the new ultra-competitive environment, movies are no longer guaranteed an audience when they are not quite up to scratch. The studios have to produce the goods every year, as any relaxation of quality is quickly perceived by the public, which quickly switches to alternative leisure types.”

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