Global cinema news and comment

2009 seems to have come to a rousing end in terms of cinema box offices around the world. We commented on 3 Idiots and broken records in Hindi Cinema in the last post and most of the world knows that Avatar has given James Cameron the the No2 box office film of all time already. With $1.33 billion worldwide and counting there is now an outside possibility that Avatar will catch Titanic.

Here are some other news stories that you might have missed in all the Hollywood fanfares:

China has had an amazing year at the cinema with an increase in box-office revenues of 44%. This came after 600 new screens were added last year, bringing the country’s total to 4,700. Out of the total, 1,800 are digital and nearly 800 are 3-D screens. The revenue increases came partly from higher prices in new multiplexes appearing in shopping malls. There is still a restriction on Hollywood titles that are allowed an import certificate, but 5 blockbuster US titles were in the Chinese Top 10 for 2009 – no wonder the studios are eager for more entry opportunities and co-productions.

In France, admissions are up to over 200 million making 2009 the best year since 1982 and securing No3 slot for the French cinema market after India and the US. Hollywood still managed 49.8% and French producers bagged a very creditable 37.1% leaving 13.1% for the ‘Rest of the World’.

In both the UK and France, the video industry has bounced back in 2009. In the UK, the increase in Blu-Ray disc transactions has compensated for the decline in the traditional DVD market and the sector’s overall performance expected to improve during 2010 driven by HD TV sales. In France action against pirates and a reduction in the cinema release window (i.e. DVDs released after a shorter period following the cinema release) has seen the volume of transactions rise by 30% and value by 7%.

The value of the Spanish box office also broke records and Spanish producers took 15% of their own market. Polish admissions rose to 38 million (an increase of 4 million) with 29 Polish productions generating over 8 million admissions. Three Hollywood animated films topped the box office chart. In the Netherlands, admissions were up as well with a big increase in the value of the market. Hollywood took 70% of the Dutch market. In Italy, admissions were flat but value rose – attributed to higher prices for 3-D screenings, something that has been mentioned in several territories as a cause for optimism in the industry. Anyone want to comment on that – I haven’t been to a 3-D screening yet.

(Most of this info comes from the excellent Cineuropa site – see the headlines in the left sidebar.)


  1. nicklacey

    I’ve seen Monsters vs Aliens and Coraline in the past year and find the 3D simply a distraction. By breaking the ‘4th wall’ the ‘suspension of disbelief’ is disrupted. I suppose if we get used to the 3rd dimension then this wouldn’t happen and maybe 3D can be used dramatically; of course, perspective in 2D gives us 3D anyway. The novelty of feeling like you’re about to get your eye poked out lasts only about five minutes anyway.

    I could marvel at the stop motion animation of Coraline in 3D but it was marvelous anyway. The CGI of Monsters left me pretty cold; but CGI is increasingly doing that to me anyway.

    Box office suggests, however, that the novelty is not wearing off with audiences though.


  2. venicelion

    I noticed that in some West End cinemas a 3D movie is £14 plus you have to pay for the glasses as well. I think that the films would have to be very good to justify that kind of money. Apart from Pixar, I can’t think of any other producers/directors who might tempt me.


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