News / The Network Imprimer
The Network - 13/05/2015
2014 Europa Cinemas Network Results
Ida, Monsieur Claude and a certain hundred-year-old hero were the main attractions of a rather successful 2014 for Europa Cinemas’ 2,061 screens, where 35 million admissions were registered for European films. These figures highlight the impact of Europa Cinemas theatres on the life of European films, in particular outside their country of origin.
A proud result for one of the year’s key figures and an international star of European descent. Scarlett Johansson leaves her mark on 2014 with three science-fiction films representing three distinct approaches to filmmaking: quasi experimental arthouse cinema in Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, a large international production with Besson’s Lucy, and a relatively intimate social science-fiction film, Spike Jonze’s Her. A paradox? It is in the last and only non-European film of the trio (and where she does not appear on the screen) that the actress found an audience in theatres of the Europa Cinemas network (550,000 admissions). Lucy, a global hit whose creator did not necessarily expect to succeed so wildly (60 million admissions worldwide), attracted only 197,000 spectators in Europa Cinemas theatres, concentrated in thirty or so multiplexes. And the Glazer film – in spite of its near-unanimous positive reviews – was mostly a failure with audiences, with only a few exceptions in our network (Great Britain, France, the Netherlands), reminding us that distribution is often a gamble that well justifies support policies for the sector.
A steady effort by exhibitors
Let us have another look at the numbers that matter most to us in the network: the 36% share of European non-national films in total screenings (up 0.8 percentage points from 2013), with admissions increasing from 30.6 to 32.3%. These figures are in line with the average for the last five years and four times the percentages achieved by all European cinemas together. Knowing that cinema is a market often reduced to a handful of successful titles, we can then appreciate the genuine curiosity of Europa Cinemas exhibitors and their eagerness to present a rich diversity of nationalities and genres on their screens, giving their audiences an overview of the continent’s production. On a more general note, we should remember that in spite of new media and platform options, it is still mostly in cinemas that film lovers want to watch films, and on the long term attendance levels stay satisfactory.
Five European films topping 500,000 admissions
In 2014, feature films from Germany, Italy and Spain enjoyed relatively little international success. And if British and French filmmakers provided the majority of our network big-name films, some titles were exceptional and became relatively unexpected international success stories.
The 100-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, the Swedish film adaptation of a bestseller, was distributed in 24 countries and clearly successful in Austria, in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Norway, and especially in Germany, with 246,000 admissions in our network.
Ida, which was not a success when it was released in Poland in late 2013, won over audiences in network cinemas in a dozen countries. Shortly after its release, exhibitors participating in the Athens Europa Cinemas conference had given it their “Coup de Cœur” award. Their choice was well justified: Ida did particularly well on network screens throughout most of its European career (40% of the 521,000 admissions in France, 80% of the 113,000 admissions in Italy, 61% of the 87,000 admissions in Spain, and 90% of the 35,000 admissions in Sweden).
Furthermore, there are also often one or two documentaries that make it to top spots, reminding us of how much network cinemas are committed to their dissemination. Two good examples: The Salt of the Earth, a true crowd-puller with 488,000 admissions across the network, and the skillful blend of documentary and fiction of 20,000 Days on Earth (115,000 admissions).
The success of films by the Dardenne brothers or Lars von Trier and the continued success of Paolo Sorrentino’s La grande bellezza (no. 1 in our network in 2013 with 763,000 admissions, plus 435,000 cinemagoers in 2014), testify to the power of European cinema to produce non-mainstream films, that are able to reach an international audience.
Strong showing: French and English films
In the end, it was a French film (Serial (Bad) Weddings) and an English film (Philomena) that dominated the list of top European productions, with 1.3 million and 900,000 admissions respectively. The former was a phenomenal success in Germany (where network cinemas tallied 882,000 of the 3.1 million admissions in 2014), with distributor Neue Visionen thus confirming its comedy know-how after the success of Paulette in 2013. The film also did well in Austria, Spain, Poland and the Netherlands. As for Philomena, it was a genuine success in network cinemas in fifteen or so countries. The Jalil Lespert and Mike Leigh biopics as well as the Guillaume Gallienne and Ken Loach films reinforced the positions of French and English cinema, accounting respectively for 17.1% and 8.5% of admissions in network theatres.
Films from around the world and films for children
Europa Cinemas theatres are also a home for “rest of the world” films (neither European nor American). These accounted for 10.5% of our screenings in 2014, here again 4 or 5 percentage points higher than the market. The top four of these works, with results ranging from 282,000 to 406,000 admissions, were presented at Cannes: Wild Tales, Winter Sleep, The Lunchbox and Mommy. They are followed by The Wind Rises, Miyazaki’s last work and the network’s most often screened film for children.
At this point it should be mentioned that network cinemas receive support for their Young Audiences activities. A few European films should be mentioned in this respect: three French films Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants, On the Way to School and A Cat in Paris, topping 50,000 admissions; two German films The Pasta Detectives and Pettson and Findus – A Little Nuisance, A Great Friendship, more than 40,000 admissions, the Norwegian film Solan & Ludvig: Christmas in Pinchcliffe and the Irish film Song of the Sea.
A year of comedies?
Finally, to give praise where praise is due: 2014 witnessed the consecration of a great American filmmaker for a film rich in European references: Wes Anderson, with his Grand Budapest Hotel, achieved more than two million admissions in network screenings with an excellent average of 3,300 spectators per cinema. Here is a director who used to have fans, and who now has an audience. This success raises a question: was 2014 the year of comedies in the network, including European comedy?
Some European filmmakers have indeed ventured in this area in recent years (Akin, Almodovar, Moretti), but in 2014 we once again find several comedies truly shining above the crowd. This was already the case with The Intouchables in 2012, ahead of The Artist, The Angels' Share and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. 2013 was a quieter year (Quartet). In 2014, Philippe de Chauveron and Felix Herngren’s comedies therefore did rather well. This assessment is not unambiguous. There are cultural phenomena that remained confined to their own territory, for instance the Spanish hit Spanish Affair. Suck me Shakespeer, the German success of 2013, had only limited success abroad, although it reached reasonably large audiences in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. It was, however, a failure in France (63,000 admissions), and it left nearly no trace in our network. Could do better, then ... But we may soon be seeing major national comedies from Germany (remember Good Bye Lenin!) or elsewhere, films that will then do as well as their French and English counterparts.
Claude-Eric Poiroux, Jean-Baptiste Selliez, May 2015
Pictures: Under the Skin, The Salt of the Earth, Song of the Sea.
Detailed results and country focus in our new Network Review:
In Cannes, the Europa Cinemas Network Meeting will take place on Sunday 17th May, 15:00 to 17:00 at the Hôtel Majestic (Salon Croisette, 10 boulevard de la Croisette).