Romania sees surge in box office, admissions

By Iulia Blaga

    2009 was a record-breaking year for Romania, with admissions growing 43% compared to 2008, and box office up by 60%.

    There were 4.6 million tickets sold in 2009, compared to 3.2 million in 2008, while the box office reached 78.2 million RON in 2009 compared to 46 million RON in 2008. Premieres rose to 182 premieres in 2009 --12 more than in 2008.

    Constantin Fugaşin from Champions, an agency that monitors the local market, said that 2008 was the first sign of recovery after 18 years of steady decline. Fugaşin said when all the figures are in, the 2009 market could reach 20 million euro (85-88 million RON).

    Most of the box office -- 95% -- went to 15 multiplexes that wiped out 38 old communist era cinemas. In 2010, two multiplexes with 15 new cinemas will be opened by Cinema City in Bucharest and Arad.

    Both the popularity of 3D film and the multiplexes are credited with driving cinema admissions and box office in 2009. Launched in December 2009, the first IMAX cinema from Cinema City, AFI Palace Bucharest, is operating at capacity, even though the 7 euros ticket is expensive by Romanian standards.