3D blockbusters give box-office a boost
YOU have to see it to believe it.
A summer of 3D blockbusters has helped revive the flagging fortunes of Irish cinemas.
While overall admissions are down 7pc on last year, a slew of recent blockbusters, including sequels 'Toy Story 3' and 'Shrek Forever After', have given a much-needed boost to sales.
Tickets for 3D versions of a film can cost €2 more than a ticket for the same film in 2D, meaning that while there may be fewer "bums on seats", revenue is still up.
The 3D format is credited with turning around what could have been a disastrous year for cinemas. The top five grossing films of the year so far include four 3D movies.
They have taken in €21.6m in the year to date, compared with around €20m for the top five films during the whole of 2009.
After a weak start to the year, the industry is banking on a number of hotly anticipated films due to hit screens in the autumn and winter to renew audience interest and bring overall attendance figures past 17 million by the end of 2010.
Last year there was a notable absence of any big-name blockbusters for cinema-goers to sink their teeth into.
Comedy 'The Hangover' was the highest-grossing film of the year at €4.8m. It was followed by other 'sleeper hits' such as animation flick 'Up' and feel-good drama 'Slumdog Millionaire'.
However, the coming-of-age of 3D with Oscar-winning 'Avatar' has reignited audience interest. It is the number one film at the Irish box office so far this year, taking in a massive €6.1m, with much of this fuelled by repeat viewers.
Mike Sheridan, film editor with website entertainment.ie, said 'Avatar' was the "make-or-break" film for 3D and once the movie industry saw how successful it was they jumped on the bandwagon.
Only around one-fifth of screens are capable of showing 3D films, but this figure is set to climb as more cinemas cash in on the success of 3D.
Jane White, marketing executive with Carlton Screen Advertising, which advertises at 426 screens in Ireland, said the 7pc drop in admissions could be attributed to the good weather at the start of the summer.
"But we are predicting to recover from this drop by the end of the year due to the strength of the film products," she added.