3D drives European cinema receipts to 12% growth

Gross box office figure tops $8 billion.
3D movies helped the European box office to 12% growth in 2009.
3D movies helped the European box office to 12% growth in 2009.

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The EU box office reached a tally of US $8.02 billion in 2009 as cinemas enjoyed both a surge in attendance and higher average ticket prices.

The study by the European Audiovisual Observatory also found that the number of feature films produced within the EU had grown to a total of 1168, a record high.

Attendances rose by six percent – a trend seen in a number of markets during the economic downturn – with a total of 981.1 million tickets sold in 2009.

The disparity between the rise in attendances and the growth in receipts can be attributed largely to the premium prices charged for 3D screenings.

A number of blockbuster successes in the 3D format throughout 2009 such as Up, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Avatar contributed to this total selling 86 million tickets between them.

The gross box office grew in 21 of the 23 EU countries where data is available with only Ireland and Latvia faltering. Romania experienced the greatest growth with a staggering 63.7 percent increase on its 2008 total.

There was mixed news for the production industry. The number of feature films produced in the EU hit a record high of 1168 with fiction accounting for 80 percent of these.

Independent filmmakers saw their market share slip as the top 100 blockbuster accounted for three quarters of all admissions.

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