PRAGUE: Poland, the Baltics, Romania, the Czech Republic and the Balkans are the bright spots for cinema attendance and box office in Europe, with record-breaking results helped by domestic successes. Slovakia and Bulgaria were the few exceptions for the region, according to the UNIC 2018 results.
Even the declines in CEE were not as disappointing as they seem to indicate. The Slovak and Bulgarian results came after their record-breaking numbers in 2017, when (particularly in Slovakia) break-out domestic films fueled admissions. Bulgaria is in better shape for the future, as the number of screens in the country reached 2018, a rise of some 125% over the last decade.
The Czech Republic was back in stride, with a 13.2% increase in box office and a 7.3% rise in admissions to its best year since 1993, and the advent of commercial TV. Admissions reached 16.3 m, over 1.6 cinema visits per person.
Poland had a triple hit, with European and (especially) domestic films claiming a 35.5% share of the market. The top three films of the year were Polish productions. Admissions reached almost 60 m, a 5.5% increase over 2017. That works out to just over 1.5 cinema visits per person.
The Baltics had across the board positive results. Lithuanian attendance was up 6.3% and box office was up 11.1%. Estonia saw an increase of 3.4% for attendance and 6.3% for box office. In Latvia, admissions rose by 1.9% and box office rose by 3.4%. All three countries benefited from domestic hits – many of them part of their initiative to fund films in celebration of their centennials. Three of the top four films in Estonia and Latvia were domestic productions. In Lithuania, domestic films held the top two slots. Estonia’s attendance came in at 2.8 cinema visits per person, the second highest in Europe. Lithuania reached 1.5 per capita attendance.
In the Balkans, Serbia registered a 19.9% surge in box office and 18% in admissions. Slovenia, North Macedonia, Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina all had box office increases in the 7% and 8% range.