The European box office continues to recover, but theater revenues are still far from their pre-pandemic peak.
According to official figures released on Thursday by the European Audiovisual Observatory, gross receipts in the European Union and the UK are up 70 percent to $5.5 billion (€5.07 billion) by 2022, with a further 250 million sold. tickets, bringing the total number of visitors to 657 million. The return of the studio blockbusters were key drivers behind the theatrical resurgence. Top gun: Maverick, Avatar: the way of the waterAnd Minions: The Rise of Gru were the top films across Europe last year, with 34.4 million, 30.6 million and 30.2 million tickets sold respectively.
However, both revenue and visitor numbers are still well below pre-COVID-pandemic levels. Ticket sales in 2022 were only 67 percent of the admission averages recorded between 2017 and 2019. Gross box office was down 29 percent from the 2017-2019 average.
There was even significant variation between major European markets, with the French box office at 80 percent of its pre-pandemic average, while Italian theaters reported returning barely half of what they averaged pre-COVID.
European films continue to struggle to make a theatrical breakthrough or to cross national borders. With the exception of Warner Bros’ Fantastic Beasts: Dumbledore’s Secretsa nominally British film but produced in an American studio, no European production managed to sell more than 5 million tickets in the region last year or crack the top 25 in Europe. Fantastic beasts booked just under 15 million admissions in the EU and UK last year, well ahead of the number two European production, another studio-backed feature film, Universal’s Downton Abbey: A New Era, of which 4.1 million were sold. Number Three was the French comedy sequel Serial bad weddings 3 with 3.8 million visitors, the vast majority of whom come from France.