Cinema: Boom time for European films

Cinema admissions are booming all over Europe, in the best year for decades. And locally made films are gaining some of the benefits.

In Germany, the Federal Film Board (FFA) said it expected a total of 140 million cinema visits by Germans by the end of the year - more than in any year in the 1990s. Box offices sold 102.8 million tickets in the first nine months of the year, up by about five million, or 5 per cent, from the same period last year. The market share of German films hit a record 17 per cent.

According to the firm Mediavision, ticket sales in France were up 6 per cent for the first three quarters of the year. This has been an especially good year for local films, with their market share rising to 40 per cent.

In Britain, figures from the Cinema Advertising Association (CAA) revealed the highest monthly UK cinema ticket sales since 1971. Total admissions for January-July 1997 stand at 74.8 million - 4 per cent up on the same period in 1996. CAA are projecting the number of admissions for the year 1997 to total 134 million, against 123 million for 1996. This is the highest figure for admissions since 1974. Admissions for September 1997 saw an increase of 49 per cent on the same month in 1996. The market share of local films is difficult to gauge because the "British film" is not easy to define.

In Italy in 1996, the last year for which figures are available, more than 95 million cinema tickets were sold. Of these, 23.5 per cent were for Italian films. The consumption of local films is increasing: as of April this year, attendance of Italian films was up an annual 26.1 per cent, while US films saw a slump of 2.3 per cent over the same period.

-Fiona Bell

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