The Western European cinemagoing trend is riding a steadily upward curve, while Eastern European admissions continue to decline. In fact, the year-on-year decline in ticket sales between 1999 and 2000 that was experienced in Eastern European markets substantially outstrips the gains enjoyed in the western territories as a whole.
While the 15 Western European countries enjoyed an amalgamated increase in admissions of 4.4%, the 12 eastern territories saw a decrease of 5.7%, with Poland suffering a massive 29.8% decline. Poland's slump in ticket sales between 1999 and 2000, is even more dramatic given that the territory enjoyed an increase of 33.8% in admissions between1998 and 1999.
According to statistics gathered by Media Salles, the EU media initiative, 2000 was an even better year for Western European cinemas than the 'legendary' year of 1998 - the year of Titanic. Of the major European markets, those than can boast at least 100 million spectators, France was the one to grow the most in 2000, gaining over 12 million admissions, or 8.1%, compared to 1999. The Spanish market recorded a growth of 3.1% or 4 million admissions over 1999, while Germany saw a 2.4% rise in ticket sales. Other territories enjoying significant increases in admissions included, Belgium: 6.3%, Sweden 6.2% and Italy 2%.
In Eastern Europe, the steepest drops in cinemagoing were witnessed by Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Poland, which itself lost a total of some 8 million spectators.