Cinemas beat expectations as Britons flock to see blockbusters


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The Independent Online

Movie blockbusters, including  Man of Steel, Les Miserables and Iron Man 3, helped box office takings at British cinemas to smash expectations and rise 8.5 per cent to £578.7m in the first half of this year.

Last year, Britons’ love for the cinema saw ticket receipts rise by 6 per cent to hit a record of £1.1bn, and the trend kept growing in the first half of 2013, according to figures from the British Film Institute.  Les Miserables alone took £40.7m at the box office, making it the second-highest earning musical to be released on the big screen of all time after Mamma Mia!

Separate figures from the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association revealed that ticket sales in June hit 13 million, their highest level for at least a decade – a 5 per cent rise on the figures for the same period last year. The month’s most popular films were Man of Steel, Despicable Me 2 and World War Z.

The industry expects a strong August too as the same month last year saw the attractions of the Olympic Games, when Team GB’s success was difficult to beat with on-screen action. It could be a tougher finish to the year, however, as at the end of 2012 Skyfall took in £103m and became the biggest earner in UK cinema history.

Rupert Gavin, the chief executive of Odeon Cinemas, said predictions that the growth of online movie download services would damage cinema attendance have not proved correct.

“Downloads are not the competition, box-office figures have nothing to do with what people are doing at home, it’s the distraction of other events, such as the football, the Olympics, and the weather, that affects peoples interest in going to the cinema,” he said.