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Disney Hit With a 15-Year High Due To European Admissions, Local Titles

Official figures published Monday by the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) show box office attendance figures hitting a record high last year, helped by both studio juggernauts and home-grown hits.

2020-02-17T19:06:00Z

Courtesy : Arnaud Borrel

In days and times where streaming service seems to just grow in abundance and how some continue to claim that the death of cinema is near, it seems that isn't the case in Europe at least.

Official figures published Monday by the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) show box office attendance figures hitting a record high last year, helped by both studio juggernauts and home-grown hits.

The UNIC recorded 1.34 billion admissions across Europe in 2019, the highest attendance figures in 15 years. That translated to around $9.21 billion in the box office, another record, albeit one not adjusted for inflation.

Disney's gargantuan year at the box office played an outsized role at boosting European figures, with The Lion King, Avengers: Endgame, Frozen 2 and Toy Story 4 among 2019's top performers across the continent. Warner Bros.' Oscar winner Joker was also a major hit in virtually every territory in Europe.

But, country by country, much of the box office bump came from local-language hits, with films like Serial Bad Weddings 2 in France (local box office take: $54 million) and Germany's Das perfekte Geheimnis ($50 million) making a significant impact. Arguably the most impressive regional performer was Truth and Justice, Tanel Toom's adaptation of an epic Estonian novel, which has become the most-watched film of all time in the tiny Baltic country, with more than 267,000 admissions (in a country with a population of just 1.3 million inhabitants). To compare, the previous record-holder, James Cameron's Avatar, had less than 194,000 admission in Estonia.

But there were signs of strength everywhere, from Russia, where admissions — at 216.3 million — topped the symbolically significant 200 million figure for the third time running and put the country ahead of France (with 213.3 million admissions in 2019) as the largest in terms of the number of tickets sold. Sony Pictures is currently riding the Russian box office boom with its local-language feature Ice 2, the sequel to the 2018 hit Ice. The new film, directed by Zhora Kryzhovnikov, entered at number one at the box office, taking in $8.4 million over the first three days. The Sony Pictures International Productions smashed records for the highest-grossing opening day for a local language film in Russia, which was a $3 million one-day take.

In terms of the box office, the U.K. was Europe's top territory in 2019, with a $1.63 billion gross, a figure that was actually down slightly on a record-breaking 2018.

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