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The Network - 10/05/2016
Facts & Figures 2015: A Strong Year For Europa Cinemas Members
2015 was a strong year for members of Europa Cinemas, with the highest admissions for European films in the Network’s 25-year history. They jumped by almost 3 million to a record-breaking 38 million in 2015. In part, the increase is explained by the expansion of the network, which now comprises 2,320 screens in 30 MEDIA countries. That expansion itself is indicative of both the growing strength of European film and the importance of independent and arthouse cinemas in creating and sustaining that growth. The impressive 2015 figures are also, promisingly, in line with a general upward trend. The European Audiovisual Observatory reported a 7.6% increase in admissions for European films across the Continent during the year. Europa Cinemas’ analysis notes a number of key trends that emerged during 2015 and offer reasons for optimism.
A new generation taking the lead
More than 20 directors were featured in the annual Europa Cinemas list of most successful films for the first time. Three of those directors were under the age of 40: Alice Rohrwacher (aged 34), pulled in 161,000 admissions in the network (92,000 in France) for her second feature film The Wonders. Deniz Gamze Erguven (38) won the Europa Cinemas Label at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight for Mustang, which went on to register 274,000 admissions, including 168,000 in France and 68,000 in Italy. Finally, the Cannes 2015 European Jury Award winner, Son of Saul, by Hungarian director Laszlo Nemes (39) attracted 205,000 film lovers to network cinemas, including 51,000 in Hungary and 37,000 in the Netherlands.
Europa Cinemas members are optimistic that a new generation is preparing to take the place of the many forty-something filmmakers who have forged giant reputations among arthouse audiences, such as Asif Kapadia, Yorgos Lanthimos, Ruben Ostlund, Maiwenn, Stephane Brize, Thomas Vinterberg, Alberto Rodriguez, Tomm Moore, Grimur Hakonarson and Emmanuelle Bercot.
A strong year for auteurs in Hollywood
2015 was a strong year for US film, which accounted for 60% of screenings. Among the biggest successes in the network were American films that also attract audiences within the Europa Cinemas network, like Jurassic World, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Fifty Shades of Grey (based on a book by a UK author). Among the trends in 2015, American productions from foreign authors were a major success this year: Birdman (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu), Spectre (Sam Mendes) and The Imitation Game (Morten Tyldum) all exceeded 1 million admissions in Europa Cinemas theatres. The latest Woody Allen film and two family films, Minions and Inside Out were also a success.
Paolo Sorrentino once again comes top within the network
With The Great Beauty barely at the end of its run, Youth attracted 850,000 film lovers in 2015. And this was before its release in 10 European countries in 2016. In four countries, the film achieved admissions of more than 100,000 within the network.
Three British films achieve more than500,000 admissions in the network
The Theory of Everything, 45 Years and the documentary Amy were produced by relatively young and unknown filmmakers and their acclaim cannot really be attributed to festival screenings. It is something of a surprise to find them at the top of our rankings.
Two French films also exceed 500,000 admissions
The success of Timbuktu is less unexpected. The film owes its success to French cinemas and also to the 300,000 admissions it achieved abroad. La FamilleBélier became a success outside of France, achieving 741,000 admissions - 200,000 in Germany, 171,000 in Italy and almost 100,000 in the Netherlands. The success of Samba (432,000 admissions, entirely abroad), shows that French comedies have truly become an export product with a “made in France” stamp.
An excellent variety of European films achieving 300,000 to 500,000 admissions
The following films cover a wide variety of genres and styles, from costume drama to animation and drama to comedy: Mia madre, Woman in Gold, The Brand New Testament, Shaun the Sheep Movie, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Lobster, Mr Turner and The Measure of a Man.
Victoria achieved 70% of its admissions in Germany in Europa Cinemas theatres, where it attracted 274,000 film lovers. With a strong aesthetic quality (it was filmed in a single continuous take), the film was critically acclaimed in the countries where it was shown.
Films with a long-term success
A number of films continue to be screened on a long-term basis. Already ranked highly in 2014, Force Majeure, The Salt of the Earth and Pride were released in 17, 11 and 6 European countries respectively in 2015. They have each achieved around 300,000 admissions.
Tangerines by Zaza Urushadze (Estonia/Georgia) is an atypical success story. The film was released at the end of 2013 but barely circulated in 2014. In 2015 it was then released in about 10 countries internationally, generating high levels of interest through word-of-mouth in Spanish cinemas in our network (almost 50,000 admissions). At the start of 2016 it has extended its run, in France and Italy.
British animation dominates
With Shaun the Sheep Movie, Paddington and Song of the Sea (an Irish film by Tomm Moore), British animated films feature strongly in the Young Audience top five. Along with two French films, The Little Prince and Ernest & Célestine, animation reigns supreme in our rankings.
A number of films from Cannes 2015 top the box offices in their home countries
A number of films shown at Cannes in 2015 have been a success with audiences at Europa Cinemas theatres in their home countries. These include: The High Sun in Croatia (Un Certain Regard), The Brand New Testament in Belgium, Arabian Nights in Portugal (Directors’ Fortnight), The Lobster in Greece, Son of Saul in Hungary (In Competition) and the Ingrid Bergman documentary Jag är Ingrid in Sweden (Cannes Classics). These films have also enjoyed successful runs outside their home countries.
Popular successes reflecting their cultures of origin
Cinemas also make room for popular successes. Programming rankings therefore include films that have only been a success locally. These include the recordbreaking Spanish comedy Spanish Affair 2 (188,000 admissions in the network’s Spanish cinemas), the Estonian war film 1944, the Dutch costume drama Public Works, the Romanian political thriller Why me?, The Norwegian disaster movie The Wave, and the German “police” comedy for children, The Pasta Detectives 2.
Demain (Tomorrow) – an example of word of mouth publicity
After a modest release in France on 2 December (154 copies), Melanie Laurent and Cyril Dion’s documentary achieved 300,000 admissions (75,000 in the Europa Cinemas network) by the end of the year. Reasons for its success include the role of social media, a sizeable audience coming together through crowdfunding and a significant round of preview screenings. The film is expected to achieve more than 1 million admissions and proves successful abroad, particularly in Belgium and Switzerland.
Claude-Eric Poiroux, Jean-Baptiste Selliez, May 2016