Silver screen's popularity endures to tune of €100m
WE are continuing to turn to the big screen to escape our economic woes – with cinemas taking in more than €100m at the box office.
But a lack of comedy blockbusters which draw in large audiences has been blamed for the slight drop in the overall takings during 2012.
Figures revealed box office takings are on course to fall slightly year on year.
Takings for 2011 totalled €107.3m, compared with €102.3m up to December 19, the most recent available revenue figure.
However, film bosses have been hoping major blockbusters, including 'The Hobbit', 'Life of Pi' and 'Jack Reacher', will have bridged the gap before the year end.
It looks increasingly likely that action hero James Bond will top the box office with 007 hit 'Skyfall', taking in more than €5.9m since it opened, with rival blockbuster Batman film 'The Dark Knight Rises' taking in €5.5m.
The top performer at the Irish box office in 2011 was comedy 'Bridesmaids', which grossed €4.3m.
"I believe the reason why we are down on last year is because there were more comedies that were successful last year with four of the top five films in 2011 comedies, all of which grossed over €3m each," said a spokesman for Rentrak EDI, which collates the box-office figures.
This year, only 'Ted' has made it into the top five with €4m, while the next comedy lags far behind with 'American Reunion' at number 14.
Industry analysts also believe the number of animated films during 2011 boosted box office takings as they tend to attracts families to the cinema. In 2011, films including 'Smurfs' and 'Kung Fu Panda 2' took in more than €1m.
So far this year only 'Ice Age 4', 'Brave', 'Lorax' and 'Pirates' have taken in more than €1m.
In 2011, 34 films grossed €1m. This year only 28 movies passed the €1m mark.
"So while the likes of 'James Bond', 'Taken 2' and the comic book franchises have succeeded this year, it still shows that the Irish prefer a good comedy or animated film," the spokesman said.
Irish drama 'What Richard Did', from 'Adam & Paul' director Lenny Abrahamson, took in €375,800 at the Irish box office.
Irish Film Board chief executive James Hickey confirmed the film would be released in the UK next year.