The latest ten-year outlook for the worldwide theatrical exhibition sector looks stagnant, but increasingly focused on international and developing markets.

According to the 4th edition of Informa Group's survey Global Film: Exhibition & Distribution, box office revenues are set to rise by $6bn or some 36% to $24bn between 2001 and 2010. But the data shows gross revenues only and makes no adjustments for inflation.

Underlying admissions over the same period are forecast to increase by 17%, with the bulk of the extra ticket sales occurring in countries with low admission prices.

The US share of the global box office is expected to drop from 45% to 41% by 2010, a fact which will not help the US exhibition chains, which are already struggling with overbuilding and debt.

"The figures show that the health of the industry could have been worse and now to be on the up, it is not as good as it could have been," said Adam Thomas, Informa's media research manager.

Although the report says that the low ticket prices of the Asia Pacific region meant that it recently lost some of its box office importance, it identifies Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore as three territories with high per screen averages and ideal targets for further multiplex expansion.