UNIC Reports 24% Box Office Growth in 2023 Across European Cinema Territories

Image Courtesy of UNIC

The International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), representing European cinema operators and trade associations, has released 2023 box office and admissions data for its 39 territories. The figures represent the first assessment of European cinemas’ performance last year, based on preliminary estimates. Detailed final data will be released later in the spring. With figures for several territories still to be confirmed, UNIC estimates that European admissions increased by 21% and that total box office for the year will reach €7.1 billion – a rise of 24% in Europe and 25% in the EU compared with 2022, the latter being only 8% below the 2017-2019 results.

The Netherlands, Croatia, Albania, Serbia and Montenegro ended the year with box office revenues above their 2017-2019 average. The Dutch achieved nearly 32 million admissions, 27% more than in 2022 and earned €338 million, an increase of 31% on 2022. Serbia and Montenegro saw a box office increase of 27% compared to 2022, mainly thanks to the local title Guardians of the Formula. Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary and Slovakia were on par with pre-pandemic box office results.

German box office takings totalled €859 million, up 24% from 2022, while total admissions increased year-on-year by 19% to 87 million. France achieved 181 million admissions, a 19% increase compared with 2022. The UK box office generated total revenues of over £978.5 million, an 8.5% increase. The Italian box office earned €496 million and cinema admissions totalled 71 million, impressive increases of 62% and 59% respectively on 2022. In Spain, admissions increased by 22% to 75 million with box office of €489 million.

Warner Bros’ Barbie grossed $1.44 billion globally, topping the charts in the UK and Ireland (£96 million), Germany (€55.3 million), and many other European countries. The Greta Gerwig-helmed feature was also the highest-grossing film ever directed by a woman. Meanwhile, Universal Pictures’ Oppenheimer earned over $952 million worldwide. Local titles also played a key role in 2023’s cinematic success story. In France, 12 national films scored over a million admissions with three reaching the year’s top 10: Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Kingdom (4.6 million admissions), Alibi.com 2 (4.3 million), and The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan (3.4 million). In Romania, for the first time, as many as four domestic releases ended up in the top 10. Miami Bici 2 was seen by 430,000 cinema-goers in just three weeks.

In Italy, the market share of local films also increased, achieving 24.3% of total revenues and 25.9% of admissions. Italian titles grossed €120.7 million in 2023, twice as much as in 2022. The Italian ‘dramedy’ C’è ancora domani was the top-grossing film of the year with box office takings of €32.9 million, becoming the fifth most successful Italian film ever in the country to date. In Norway, during the Christmas holiday season, three out of four cinema tickets were sold for a Norwegian film, such as Bukkene Bruse på Badeland and Den første julen i Skomakergata. Through the year as a whole, Norwegian films accounted for 23.7% of total revenues. In Denmark, four local titles reached the top 10 – Meter i sekundet, Når befrielsen kommer, Bastarden, Kysset – and were watched by a total audience of 1.1 million, delivering the same market share as Barbenheimer. In autumn 2023, 35% of Danish households bought at least one cinema ticket.

National Cinema Days achieved significant success across Europe, with millions able to enjoy the big screen experience at discounted prices. France’s La Fête du Cinéma attracted 3.1 million cinema-goers in its 38th year. Italy’s Cinema in Festa and Spain’s Fiesta del Cine proved very popular, while Poland’s Święto Kina, with tickets at 12 PLN (€2.60), drew an audience of 550,000 with Polish films accounting for 40% of ticket sales. Gower Street Analytics estimates that the 2024 global box office will reach $31.5 billion, with EMEA estimated to reach $8 billion.

“The impressive figures for 2023 show that the big screen has lost none of its allure for European audiences, with a mix of fantastic international films and superb national titles,” said Laura Houlgatte, the chief executive officer of UNIC, “The sheer diversity of programming and experience on offer means cinemas have something for every taste and every age group. This is an industry with an unparalleled record of innovation and which continues to deliver. Some challenges remain – the impact of the Hollywood strikes and increased operational costs among them – but 2023 is proof that cinemas are as popular as ever.”

Image Courtesy of UNIC
googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1553617519041-1'); });

News Stories