Film attendance holds steady overseas

Euro moviegoing flat last year vs. '07

BRUSSELS — Cinema attendance in Europe held steady last year, according to figures released Monday by the European Audiovisual Observatory.

Admissions rose 0.5% compared to 2007, totaling 924 million across the 27 states of the European Union.

Admissions increased in 18 countries, while nine registered a decline. “Mamma Mia!” and “Quantum of Solace” topped the charts with 33.7 million and 27.5 million admissions, respectively.

The share for Hollywood films held steady at 63.2%; European pics took 28.4% of the market, not quite matching 2007’s record high of 28.6%, while movies produced in Europe with U.S. coin increased market share from 6.3% to 6.8%.

Success of local pics remains a significant factor, with 14 of the 24 countries with data available showing growth in market share for such films. Five-year highs were reported in 11 countries.

France led the pack, with “Welcome to the Sticks” and “Asterix and the Olympic Games” bringing local market share to 45.4%, the highest level since 1984.

The Observatory estimates that a record 1,145 fiction and documentary features were produced in Europe in 2008, 112 more than in 2007. Growth can be seen in documentaries and local fiction films, while fiction co-production remains stable.

Production increased in 16 EU states, with Italy, Ireland, France and Spain particularly strong.