The UKmarket appears to be the only major European territory showing box office oradmissions growth this year, according to the latest first quarter figures.
Frenchadmissions figures are down nearly 13%, German figures have slipped 11% whilethe Spanish box office has leveled off compared to the first three months of2004. Figures for The Netherlands, Denmark and Poland are also significantlydown. By comparison, the 13% rise in the UK reported on ScreenDaily.comlast week is a rare bright spot.
Spainsaw first quarter figures reach $184m (Euro 141.97m) according to latestreports from Nielsen EDI. These match those seen in 2004's first threemonths. January suffered a 17% year-on-year slip but February and March bothgained ground (up 8% and 11% year-on-year respectively) to draw level.
Asin most territories (and the international market as a whole) UIP's MeetThe Fockers led for the first three months on $17.6m in theterritory with Alexander and Million Dollar Babyboth playing well on $14.2m and $14.1m.
Frenchadmissions for the first quarter stood at 41.87 million (approx. $302.2m) -12.8% year-on-year drop from 2004's 48 million. TFM Distribution led thedistributors with a 15.7% market share from 6.56 million admissions. Thedistributor's top title was local film Iznogoud which sold 2.5 million ticketsrepresenting over 38% of TFM's first quarter ticket sales. UIP, again ledby Fockers, wassecond with 11.9% and 4.97 million admissions.
Elsewherein Europe The Netherlands saw a 12.4% slump during the first quarter from$58.65m (Euro 45.26m) in 2004 to $51.4m (Euro 39.6mm) this year. The top tenfor the period was again led by Fockers, followed byOcean's Twelve and The SpongeBob SquarePantsMovie.
Denmarkwas also down with total admissions for the first quarter reaching 3.3 millioncompared to 3.7 million in the same period of 2004 and box office dropping11.6% from $40.6m (DKR 234.96m) to $35.9m (DKR 207.6m).
Polandalso saw a massive 51% drop in admissions and a 47.8% drop in box office: thelack of local Catholic themed The Passion Of The Christ,a Lord Of The Rings film or a local favourite such as NigdyW Zyciu (which between them claimed 6.1 million admissions inthe first quarter of 2004 in Poland) partly explain the fall.
TotalPolish admissions for the first quarter of 2005 reached only 5.9 millioncompared to 12.1 million in 2004. The 2005 chart was led by Pooh'sHeffalump Movie through Forum Film with 519,834 admissions.This was followed by Monolith/SPI's Alexander whichsold 430,224 tickets of its total 679,268 in the first quarter of 2005.
OutsideEurope, Australia also suffered with a 9% year-on-year drop. Total figures forthe first quarter of 2005 stood at $152.7m (A$197.6m).
Mexicodid see a jump, however, with first quarter figures up 14% year-on-year for atotal of $107.1m (Pesos 1.2bn). January jumped 14% and March 5% but Februarybrought the real boost with a 25% leap in February.
Meanwhile,the top international film of the quarter was Meet The Fockerswith $216m during the period, followed by Hitch with$137.9m, Constantine with $112.8m, The Aviatorwith $102.7m and National Treasure with$84.3m. Howl's Moving Castle wasnarrowly held out of the top five with $76.7m of its total $213m taken in thethree month period of 2005.