UNIC Publishes 2024 Annual Report and Elects New Board of Directors at CineEurope

Image Courtesy of UNIC

The International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) has published its Annual Report on key cinema trends in the region in 2023/24. The General Assembly of UNIC has also elected a new Board to serve the organization for the next two years. The Annual Report takes a deep dive into the recent trends and developments in the European cinema industry.

2023 proved to be a successful year for European cinemas thanks to international titles including Barbie, Oppenheimer, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One and Wonka, as well as a wide range of highly popular national releases. European cinema admissions increased by an estimated 21.6 percent in 2023, with 986 million visits across the region, nearing the one-billion mark. The box office reached €7.2 billion, an increase of 23.7 percent on the previous year. At EU level, over 662 million tickets were sold in cinemas, worth an estimated €5.1 billion at the box office – increases of 22.5 percent and 26.7 percent respectively. These numbers were achieved despite the impacts of the Hollywood strikes, the continuing challenges of rising operational costs, and the ongoing disruption caused by the Russia/Ukraine war.

A large number of European countries – including the Netherlands, Belgium, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia, Hungary, Serbia and Montenegro – ended the year with box office revenues above their 2017-2019 average. Other countries like Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland and Slovakia were on par with their pre-pandemic box office results. Local European releases have been crucial, with countries such as France (36.7 percent), Albania (31 percent), Turkey (42.7 percent), Italy (24.3 percent) and Norway (23.5 percent) leading the way in terms of national films’ market share by box office. Noteworthy amongst these titles were releases such as Astérix & Obélix: L’Empire du Milieu and C’è ancora domani.

The simultaneous release of two films that captured global audiences’ attention – Barbie and Oppenheimer – brought record-breaking results in 2023. Warner Bros’ Barbie dominated the charts in the UK and Ireland (£96 million), Germany (€55.3 million) and numerous other European countries. Universal Pictures’ Oppenheimer brought in over $952 million worldwide. Audiences flocked to cinemas for ”Barbenheimer”, resulting in an exceptional summer in countries like the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Poland, the UK, Spain, and Italy, among others.

In April, Gower Street Analytics increased their forecast on the global box office for 2024 to $32.3 billion, up from their initial assessment of $31.5 billion in December 2023. The impact of the strikes was strong in the first half of 2024, with a reduction in the number of film titles available from the major studios, but some local productions attracted large crowds in key territories. For example, in Germany, Chantal in Märchenland, a spinoff of the hugely successful Fack Ju Göhte trilogy, scored an opening day box office 40% higher than Barbie, whereas in France the comedy Un p’tit truc en plus registered 4.8 million admissions in May only, more than the lifetime admissions for Oppenheimer in the country, bringing the monthly performance 12% above the pre-pandemic benchmark. The achievements of 2023 featured in the annual report provide ample demonstration of the dynamism of the cinema sector and that a strong, diverse and well-marketed supply of film content to cinemas, with a significant period of exclusivity, is absolutely key for the well-being of the industry.

Today UNIC also elected a new Board of Directors, which have been appointed on two-year terms that will come to an end in June 2026. The decision saw Phil Clapp, the chief executive officer of the UK Cinema Association, re-appointed as President and other key Board positions also confirmed as below.

  • President: Phil Clapp, CEO of the UK Cinema Association (UK)
  • Senior Vice President and Treasurer: Jaime Tarrazón, Delegate of the Federación de Cines de España (ES)
  • Vice President: Richard Patry, President of the Fédération Nationale des Cinémas Français (FR)
  • Vice President: Edna Epelbaum, President of the Association Cinématographique Suisse (CH)
  • Vice President: Mario Lorini, President of the Associazione Nazionale Esercenti Cinema (IT)
  • Vice President: Tomasz Jagiełło, CEO of Helios and Member of the Polish Cinema Association (PL)
  • Vice President: Christine Berg, Head of HDF Kino (DE)
  • Observer: Thierry Laermans, General Secretary of the Fédération des Cinémas de Belgique (BE)

Commenting on the publication of the UNIC Annual Report and on the election of the Board, Phil Clapp said, “This, our latest annual report, pays ample testament to the strength of the European sector and its continuing fortitude in the face of a number of industry and wider economic challenges. The extraordinary success of a number of European titles as well as the unique cultural moment that was ‘Barbenheimer’ makes clear the public’s appetite for great stories well-told, and the ability of the big screen experience to drive relevance and revenues like no other platform. As we look forward to continued success in 2024 and beyond, I am delighted and humbled to be re-elected at President of UNIC and congratulate my fellow Board members. I look forward to working with them and the entire sector to help ensure our continued success.”

Image Courtesy of UNIC
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