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An overview on cinema in Europe

An overview on 2007: demand and offer for European films are on the increase, whilst cinema-going experiences a slight dip

A tendency to decline but not everywhere: this sums up the 2007 trend as regards cinema-going in Europe. The exact opposite of 2006, where the plus sign was the general rule, although, there again, with some exceptions. The positive side of 2007 comes from European films: in EU countries film production is on the increase with their market share growing as well.

Less spectators in Europe, but with exceptions
In 2007 cinema admissions declined on average by 1.3% in the 27 countries of the European Union, dropping from 929.9 to 918.3 million. If we consider the 34 countries examined by MEDIA Salles in the European Cinema Yearbook, it emerges that in the 19 countries of Western Europe the drop is equal to -2.1% (from 885.1 to 867.0 million), whilst in the 15 territories of the Central and Eastern part of the continent and on the Mediterranean Rim the decrease amounts to -1.3% (from 113.8 to 112.3 million).
There are however several countries which have closed 2007 with a plus sign. Among them there are two of the five main markets of the continent: United Kingdom (+3.7%) and Italy (+11%). Ireland, Greece, Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania and Baltic Republics also obtained positive results.

European films: more production and an increasing market share

The overall offer of films in the 27 EU countries continued to grow last year, thanks mostly to France, Spain and Italy: the result, according to the European Audiovisual Observatory, is that between 2003 and 2007 the number of films produced entirely or mainly by a European country grew from approximately 750 to over 900.
In the European Union the market share of European films in 2007 crossed the 28% threshold, as had already happened in 2006. A decidedly positive result, if we consider that in the 2003-2005 period the figure was around 25%. Growth was influenced primarily by British and Italian films, which, together with co-productions, reached respectively 28% and 33% on their home markets. On the international scenario British films obtained the lion's share, particularly with Mr Bean's Holiday, the most widely viewed film in absolute terms: over 15 million spectators, 11 of which outside the United Kingdom. Hot Fuzz and The Last King of Scotland also gained important results. Amongst the Italian titles to obtain the top places in the classification of the most widely viewed films were mainly comedies made to attract home audiences.
Those most suited to international tastes proved to be the co-productions Saturno Contro and Mio fratello è Figlio Unico. In 2007 French films experienced a drop in their share of the home market (from 44.6% to 36.6%) but continued to reap successes outside their national boundaries. In fact La Môme and Taxi 4 came top in the classification of favourite titles, right after the previously mentioned Mr Bean. They are followed by other blockbusters, such as Ensemble c'est tout and Arthur et les Minimoys. German films did well on the home market, securing approximately 19%, thanks in particular to comedies, as well as on the international market where Das Leben der Anderen, seen by 5 million Europeans, established its success not only in terms of Oscars but also as regards audience appreciation. Spanish productions represented 13.5% of the market at home and found their main European ambassador in the horror film El Orfanato, which totalled over 4 million spectators. Gratifying positions in the European classifications were also obtained by productions that drew all or the vast majority of their spectators from their home countries. As well as the cases of the Italian films and German comedies, there is also the case of the historical drama, Katyn, a Polish production, or Turkish titles, such as Beyaz Melek and Maskeli Besler - Irak. Lastly, it may be of interest to emphasize the contribution that is made to circulating the different expressions of European filmmaking by works receiving a nomination for the European Film Award. In 2007 over 15 million European citizens went to the cinema to see the six finalists. An excellent sign for the 2008 candidates.

2007 Nominations to the EFA
results in European cinemas

Title Spectators in Europe in 2007 (million) Notes
La Môme 7.5
The Last King of Scotland 2.6
The Queen 1.7 3.5 in 2006
Persepolis 1.6
Auf der Anderen Seite 0.9
4 Luni, 3 Saptamini si 2 Zile 0.7
Source: EAO

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Chatelin Bruno
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