News / The Network


The Network - 15/05/2009


A look back at 2008 in the Network


With a 58% market share held by European films (35% of this for non-national European films) and nearly 11% by non-EU/US films, cinemas of the Network allow the whole diversity of the cinema to be expressed.



2008, the year of national films in European markets

No great European film stood out in 2008, a year apparently rather quiet in terms of general attendance at film theatres. And in Berlin the European Audiovisual Observatory announced a relatively stable rate of admissions. 
But it also stated a reaffirmation of national film industries in their own country. In around ten countries, headed by France, the Czech Republic and Denmark, national films have done well, with Danish cinema even experiencing its best attendance since 1976 thanks in particular to Flame & Citron. While this latter film exported well, as do a few Danish films every year, the same could not be said of the great Czech, Slovakian, Polish or Finnish successes, which are a reminder that national hits often have problems finding their way to film theatres in neighbouring countries.
With this in mind, Welcome to the Sticks is a welcome surprise. Not content with beating records in France, with over 20 million admissions, the film also obtained good results abroad. Above all, the strategy adopted by Prokino in Germany – the distributor chose to invent new jargon with the assistance of a linguist – leads the way for other national comedies.

All the diversity of the cinema in Europa Cinemas film theatres

In Europa Cinemas Network film theatres, national films are, however, quite stable, since these film theatres are a sort of moderator of the trends in a market which is concentrating increasingly on great national and American successes. With a 58% market share held by European films (35% of this for non-national European films) and nearly 11% by non-EU/US films, these film theatres allow the whole diversity of the cinema to be expressed.
Alongside the good results of the latest (excellent) films by the Coen brothers, Woody Allen and Sean Penn, several European films have been clear successes in the network. Four films exceeded 600,000 admissions: Gomorrah (851,000 admissions in film theatres in 20 countries); Welcome to the Sticks (829,000 admissions, 16 countries, including 341,000 admissions in Germany, but only 42,000 in France where it was only… 50th in the network); Happy-Go-Lucky (649,000 admissions, 22 countries); and the Palme d’Or The Class (600,000 admissions in 22 countries).
Behind these, four other films exceeded or approached 400,000 admissions: Couscous, Paris and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly show that French films have had a good year in network film theatres, with Quiet Chaos close behind with 380,000 admissions.

Successes in network theatres

We note some heartening results with circulation of films within the network. Once, the very low budget Irish film by John Carney, was seen by 80,000 filmgoers in our German film theatres, 17,000 in just five Danish film theatres and 36,000 in 13 Polish film theatres. In the United Kingdom, Man on Wire, the documentary on the tightrope walker Philippe Petit, was seen by 58,000 filmgoers, particularly in digital format, which was also the medium for many screenings of Somers Town, the new film by Shane Meadows. In Austria, Let’s Make Money led the way with 69,000 admissions. The film attracted 74,000 cinema-goers in Germany. In Spain, The Counterfeiter attracted 94,000 filmgoers, while Caramel, the Lebanese film by Nadine Labaki, was seen by an audience of 112,000. Euromed Cinemas gave support to the distribution of the film and also assisted its screening in Poland (32,000 admissions in our film theatres).
Finally, returning to the good health of national film industries, we note the results of Bathory in Slovakian film theatres within the network (120,000 admissions in 13 film theatres!), Italian films d'auteurs in Italy (six films in the top ten, particularly Gomorrah, Quiet Chaos, Il Divo and Mid-August Lunch), of Man of War in Norway, Citizen Havel in the Czech Republic (a formidable documentary on the former Czech president), and Cherry Blossoms and Cloud 9 in Germany.

Not enough European films available on digital

Since 2005, Europa Cinemas has provided support to MEDIA film theatres for their schedules of European films in 2K. Around 50 network film theatres are now digitally equipped in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Sweden, Norway and Finland.
While this support has indeed developed there has been no revolution, with 25 film theatres having access to this bonus this year. And the high increase in sums allocated has affected primarily film theatres in the UK. Elsewhere, European films available in digital are still too rare, although they are increasing in German film theatres.
Finally, we note the arrival of 3D in some network film theatres, alongside screenings of operas and concerts.

Young Audiences films of the year

Network film theatres are also carrying out exemplary work to promote films to young audiences. Part of MEDIA's financial support is dedicated to the element of programme schedules devoted to these activities, events around films, animated film festivals, learning about film techniques, readings, etc.
The list of films scheduled as part of these activities is instructive: they include animated films such as The Three Robbers, Mia and the Migoo and Laban the Little Ghost, films destined for young audiences such as The Fox and the Child and Earth, and films directed more at teenage audiences such as The Wave and Let’s Make Money.