Back In Barcelona: Welcome to CineEurope 2024!

Photo courtesy Laura Houlgatte

By Laura Houlgatte, CEO, UNIC

UNIC is dedicated to communicating the value of a vibrant cinema-going culture and its resulting economic, cultural, and social contributions. Our core mission is to celebrate and promote the diversity of the European cinema sector—and there is certainly no better place to do so than CineEurope.

2023 was a positive year for European cinemas, with more than 7 billion euros at the box office and 986 million admissions. While a good deal of this success was driven by strong U.S. titles— such as The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Barbie, and Oppenheimer—most European territories also benefited from very successful national releases.

2023 showed a clear appetite amongst audiences for a wide range of cinematic experiences, with record-breaking performances for a number of releases. We recorded highly successful titles catering to specific age groups, such as family comedies, children’s animation, and horror and science fiction films. 2023 was also a year in which studios and major distributors reaffirmed their trust in and support for exclusive theatrical releases, recognizing theaters as the optimal venues to experience cinematic works.

This is in no small part thanks to the continuous and significant investments made by cinema operators across Europe. From premium large formats to dine-in options, from prescreening yoga sessions to afternoon teas, from new subscription models to diverse programming, the European cinema ecosystem has something for everyone. Europe is an incredibly diverse landscape, with multiplexes, single screens, municipality venues, and independent cinemas all striving to constantly innovate and remain cherished social and cultural hubs, while also driving local economies and providing local jobs.

Given the strong results from the first part of 2023, it has been frustrating to witness the impact of the strikes on the release schedule, particularly visible in the last months of 2023 and early 2024. The sector has also been facing an increase in fixed costs, making daily business operations challenging.

That said, in April of this year Gower Street Analytics raised its projected global box office to $32.3 billion. This revision from their original projection of $31.5 billion published in December 2023 takes into account the EMEA region delivering results up 11 percent from initial predictions.

CineEurope spotlights what makes our industry so special. There is truly nothing like watching a film on the big screen and getting lost in a story. At its core, CineEurope is about acknowledging the challenges that cinemas are currently facing and, above all, about celebrating cinema operators who do their utmost to offer the best to audiences.

This is exactly what CineEurope will showcase this week in insightful panels and seminars on marketing, retail, new cinema concepts, and attracting and retaining talent, just to name a few. And it wouldn’t be CineEurope without a series of fantastic presentations and exclusive screenings from major international studios and European distribution partners, as well as a cutting-edge trade show.

And it goes without saying that the success of our industry depends on the outstanding efforts of those working within it. To celebrate a few of 2023’s most noteworthy contributions, the CineEurope Gold Awards will be presented on the afternoon of Thursday, June 20. We are also glad to announce that Clare Binns, managing director at Picturehouse Cinemas, will receive this year’s UNIC Achievement Award. We’re delighted to recognize Apollo Cinemas as the 2024 International Exhibitor of the Year. Kinepolis will receive a Milestone Award and Nicolas Seydoux of Gaumont will receive an Icon Award for his work against piracy.

This week UNIC will release its 2024 annual report, in which we have compiled data and analytics about European cinemas. Together with colleagues at Boxoffice Pro, we’ll be publishing the 2024 Giants of Exhibition: Europe rankings. The coming days will also see UNIC announce the new mentors and mentees in our UNIC Women’s Cinema Leadership Programme. UNIC will also introduce the central topic of this year’s edition of the UNIC People Initiative, launched at CineEurope 2023 to help the cinema industry maintain its position as an employer of choice.

This year’s edition promises to be four full days of entertainment, insight, and networking, and we’re delighted you’re here to join us. Special thanks go to the Film Expo Group and our UNIC colleagues who work tirelessly to put the show together.

And we give a huge thanks to all of you, colleagues and partners from across the industry, for making CineEurope such a special event.

I wish everyone a fantastic week!

Laura Houlgatte

Photo courtesy Laura Houlgatte
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