Romania and Slovakia fastest growing markets in the region.

Cinema-goers in Central Europe spent $416m (€312m) at the box office in 2012, according to a new report from Dodona Research, Cinemagoing Central Europe.

The five markets studied broke down into:

  • Poland: $227m (€170m)
  • Czech Republic: $68m (€51m)
  • Hungary: $55m (€41m)
  • Romania: $41m (€31m)
  • Slovakia: $24m (€18m)

The fastest growing markets were Romania and Slovakia.

In Romania box office has more than tripled since 2007 and admissions nearly doubled as a wave of investment in multiplexes has seen the country’s screen count grow from 117 to 264 in just five years. Current investment plans, notably those of the region’s largest exhibitor, Cinema City, are likely to see this number top 500 within five years.

Growth in Slovakia, by contrast, has been principally the result of climbing ticket prices, which tipped over the €5 ($6.70) mark in 2012.

In the three more established markets, fortunes have been mixed. Best performing was Poland, with solid rises in both admissions and box office.

Worst was Hungary, whose economic and political problems have spilled over into the market, with admissions down nearly 3% and box office up less than 6% over the last five years.

The Czech Republic has seen a sizeable fall in admissions but rising ticket prices have more than compensated, with box office up 17% since 2007.

Growth in Central European Cinema Markets 2007-2012

% change 2007-12Box officeAdmissions
Czech Republic17.4-12.8

Source: Dodona Research

Analysts predict continuing growth, especially in Romania where admissions are forecast to increase by over 90% from current levels by 2017.

Polish admissions are predicted to be 18% higher by 2017, while Slovakia and the Czech Republic will see double-digit increases, though no end is seen to the stagnation of the Hungarian market.

Both Poland and the Czech Republic are expected to reach 1.2 admissions per head of population by 2017. The 1.3 admissions per capita in Portugal in 2012 could well shrink below this number, while even attendance levels of 1.65 per capita in Germany and 1.66 in Italy are starting to look within reach.

According to the report’s author, Alisdair Ritchie: “The only substantial growth in Western European cinema markets is coming from France and the Netherlands. Even this is being offset by collapsing markets in Southern Europe, so it is clear that Central Europe is the bright spot in the European industry. Markets in the region are growing fast and have the potential to continue doing so for many years.”