Europeans And The Cinema - Raindance

Today we are going to talk about films (oh, what a surprise!), but this time, about the film-viewing experience and film market on an European scale. These days, while Brexit hits the headlines, we should enjoy being still Europeans and take a look at our performances and those of our neighbours.

What’s the place of the European cinema industry in comparison to the American superpower industry? Could Brexit have an impact on it?

3,2,1… Action!


1. Box office figures in Europe

During the year 2018, France was the winner in terms of the number of cinema tickets sold, with a total of 200,47 million. United-Kingdom came second, with 176 million tickets. The third place goes to Spain, with 92 million of tickets sold in 2018. Not far behind, we find D. Kruger’s nation (Germany, 90 million) and Italy (79 million).

And if you correlate these numbers to the total population of each country, you easily discover that the average of annual entry per citizen is near to 3 in France, 2.6 in United-Kingdom, less than 2 for Spanish, 1.1 for Germans and 1.3 in Italy. We note that France and United Kingdom are well in the lead compared to the results of the other countries.

These figures are very representative of the impact that the cultural aspect has on the cinema industry. Indeed, cinematic culture in France is like burgers in the USA – in the sense that cinema has a central place in their customs. And the French government helps a lot, thanks to subventions which can reach close to £400,000 per film, due to a tax on tickets and television turnover.

Cinematic culture is also anchored in the UK habits. In the same manner as France, the BFI (British Film Institute) contributes to the development of cinema, television and film arts in the UK thanks to annual financial contributions. Thanks to these actions, going to the cinema is a common practice for people, and automatically it improves the cinematic economy.

In comparison, Italy has much lower subsides than the two previous countries : 8% of public aid for cinema in Italy versus 70% in France. That explains clearly the differences in development.

What will be the evolution for 2019? Without a crystal ball, it’s hard to answer the question. But considering the gap between the three countries on the podium, we imagine that it would be difficult to turn the tables…

[ Sources : , ]

2. How much does it cost?

Everywhere in Europe, tickets prices have dramatically increased. In the UK during the year 2000, the average price of a ticket was £5; nowadays, it costs around £10. An inflation of 100%! Let’s see how much a cinema ticket costs across borders.

In countries where people attend the cinema more frequently (countries listed in part 1), the price average goes from £6,93 (Italy and Spain), to £10 in United-Kingdom. We also can observe in the European continent that the price range goes from £3,31 (€3,82) in Serbia, and up to £13,73 (€15,88) in Switzerland. But, wait a minute… How can the price quadruple for the same service?

The explication is quite easy. In fact, the price of a film ticket is a real and fair economic indicator of a society (when we say cinema is substantial, we’re right!). In other words, if your country has a high standard of living, you’ll pay more for the same thing, because you own more money, plainly.

But all these data are an average between lower and higher prices. It could vary a lot, depending on the cinema location, the kind of film, and other factors. In other words, if you want to watch the last blockbuster film in 3D with VIP tickets in the heart of London, it may cost around £25. On the other hand, in a local cinema of a smaller town, without extras, it could cost only £7.

 [ Source : ]


3. European film festivals are the most prestigious

Film festivals are a kind of showroom for the cinema industry, which implies a business aspect.

The main difference between European and American festivals lies on their aim. Generally, European events focus on the artistic and audio-visual aspect of a film, while the American ones focus on show business.
TIFF, for example, is not competitive, and some prices are awarded by the public. On the other hand, Cannes is entirely competitive, and a handpicked jury judges the films under specific rules (regulation notices that jury can’t have any link with films, producers, or actors they judge). This gives European festivals their popularity.

The biggest Europeans international film festivals – called “The Big Three” – are in Berlin (Germany, founded in 1951), Cannes (founded in 1946 in France) and Venice (in Italy, since 1932). They respectively take place in February, May, and September.

As you understood, a large part of festival season takes place in our lovely continent. Not surprising when you know that four countries of Europe are among the 10 top film producers of the world. Europeans, you can be proud! These events permit to promote the greatest films and elect some of them for awards recognition.

Last year, The Berlinale sold 330,000 tickets. Better than Cannes festival, who welcomed 200,000 visitors. These festivals have a real importance for cinema democratisation and films promotion. Last but not least, this is the best way for moviegoers to meet actors and directors they are fan of.

The UK has the opportunity to be located in the old continent – a direct competitor of American continent in terms of cinema industry. It’s a favourable location, which permits distributions facilitated in our own continent.


4. Most successful European movies

If American films take up a large majority of the 2018 box-office, the British flag has his place on the international rank, and it’s something we should be proud of.

Towards the end of the international box office list, in seventeenth position, we find the Ol Parker film Mamma Mia! Here we go again, earning $393 million. Probably the most Europe-representative film: made in Croatia, written and directed by a British filmmaker, and based on the songs of a Swedish music band, ABBA !

The Grinch (directed by R. Howard), has a German DNA, and occupies place number 15, with $469 million revenue.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (directed by D. Yates) follows closely, occupying the tenth place. This film has a deep British soul, due to the collaboration of J.K Rowling. A success who made $627 million revenue.

The first European film – who ranks ninth on the table – is Bohemian Rhapsody (biopic on Freddie Mercury and Queen), created by two British producers (G. King and J. Beach). Directed by B. Singer, this film has an undeniably American DNA. With $702 million revenues, this large success proved the Mercury’s myth is unforgettable.


To conclude, we can imagine that Brexit would have a negative impact on the British film industry. Indeed, export and European’s exchanges will inevitably be impacted, whether it is on exchanges price rates, or end of subventions as Creative Europe which provided more than £1,26 billion to the cultural and creative European sectors from 2014 to 2020. These financial supports are welcome for our cinema industry and without them, film projects in United Kingdom would be slowed down.



Philippe-Alexandre has been an intern at Raindance since April 2019. He comes from the French Riviera and discovers more and more about the film world each day. He may seem discreet and timid, but he is curious, observant and always seeking information.

  • linkedin