Saturday 23 February 2019

Big screen 'magic': we visit the cinema more than any other European nationality

‘Incredible impact’: ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ was the highest grossing movie in Ireland last year
‘Incredible impact’: ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ was the highest grossing movie in Ireland last year

Nick Bramhill

Irish people visit the cinema more than any other nationality in Europe, new figures have revealed.

An average of 3.3 cinema visits per capita were made throughout Ireland in 2018 -over twice the EU average of 1.6. The latest figures, obtained by the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), paint a mixed picture for cinema attendances across Europe as a whole, with total admissions across the EU down on the previous record-breaking year of 2017.

Analysts at UNIC, the body representing European cinema trade associations, have attributed the dip in attendances in 2018 in part to a combination of the Fifa World Cup and the heatwave across much of the continent during the summer.

However, cinema sales in Ireland bucked the trend, rocketing to an eight-year peak in 2018. So it's no surprise that this country beat its nearest competitor, cinema-obsessed France, to once again top the big screen attendance per capita charts - a feat Ireland has continued to achieve since records began back in 1995.

Guillaume Branders, senior industry relations and research manager with UNIC, also noted that Ireland had the highest screen density of all the EU countries in the study.Commenting on the figures, Eoin Wrixon, CEO of Wide Eye Media, said: "This demonstrates the incredible impact cinema has had on Irish people. Although we live in an era of streaming and watching on-demand, the cinema never loses its power or its magic."

Ireland enjoyed bumper cinema admissions last year, with 2018's €117.3m box office return nearly €4m more than the previous year.

Irish Independent

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