The state of cinemas throughout Europe

17 February '14

This week I flew from New York to Kuala Lumpur for a project with Pinewood Studios, Met Film School and the Malaysian government. The new studios will mean a boom for the film service economy in Johor Bahru and nearby Kuala Lumpur so it’s an exciting time for the country. Despite the warm weather, fantastic food and polite people I am missing the UK and so thought I would look at some stats closer to home.

I took a look at some data sources for cinemas throughout Europe. In summary…

  • The biggest box offices in Europe are in France, UK and Germany
  • Almost half of all cinema tickets sold in Turkey are for Turkish films
  • Switzerland has the most expensive cinema tickets in Europe
  • Cinema tickets in Switzerland cost three times the price of tickets in Turkey
  • All of the cinema sites in Luxembourg, Netherlands and Norway are digital

European Box Office

Cinema Admissions

Another way to look at the size of the cinema economy in each country is ticket sales. Overall the picture is similar to the box office data shown above, but there are some differences. for example, cheap ticket prices in Russia and Turkey mean they are better represented by admissions than financial box office data.

Cinema Ticket Prices

The UK has an average ticket price of €7.59, which is comparatively competitive when put next to Switzerland (€12.70), Norway (€12.42) and Sweden (€11.42). However it’s almost twice that of Turkey (€4.15).

Local Films

A third of tickets sold in the UK are for ‘local films’, i.e. films which has passed the Cultural Test certifying them as officially British. Before independent British producers get too excited by this apparent vote of support from the public, it would be good to remember that many hollywood blockbusters are also British, such last last week’s BAFTA-winning British film ‘Gravity’.

Digital Roll-out

The vast majority of cinema screens in Europe are now digital, with only Spain and Turkey having under half of their sites going digital.


Today’s data came from the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), the Cinema Exhibitors Association (CEA) and my own calculations (me).

Stephen Follows