Analysis based on the results of films released in the 25 countries of the EU found that the increase was largely led by French and German productions.
French domestic films accounted for 11.1% of the 926m admissions in the EU in 2006. Strong performances from French comedies helped boost the market share of French productions in France to 45% that year. Out of 21 European countries including Turkey, Patrice Leconte's Les Bronzes 3: Amis Pour La Vie took 11.2m admissions throughout 2006, the highest figure for any European film distributed in Europe. French comedies Camping and Je Trouve Tres Beau took 5.7m and 3.6m admissions respectively.
And French-German-Spanish co-production Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer generated 9.7m in 2006, the second highest European film distributed in the 21 countries.
German films accounted for 5.1% of the total EU admissions in 2006, compared to 3.2% in 2005. National market share was revived and reached 25.8% - the highest for the country since 1991, when the analysis began. Local comedy 7 Zwerge - Der Wald Ist Nicht Genug took 4.1m admissions last year from 21 European countries including Turkey while football documentary Deutschland. Ein Sommermarchen followed closely behind with 3.9m admissions.
National market share for Italian films was up to 2.9% of EU admissions in 2006, while the UK fell slightly to 2.8%. Spanish films represented 2% of European admissions while the rest of Europe represented a collective 3.7%. But films produced in Europe with US investment took accounted for 5.7% of European admissions while purely domestic US films took 68% of admissions.
And national market share improved in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Poland and Slovenia. Denmark, Lithuania Spain and Sweden reported a drop.
The number of admissions in the 25 EU countries in 2006 was up by nearly 4%, as reported previously by ScreenDaily.com. Of the total 926m cinema tickets that were sold in the EU in 2006, France and Germany saw signs of recovery and were up 7.6% and 7.4% respectively.
Admissions in Spain fell by 4.7% and the UK also saw a 4.9% decline. Eastern Europe saw the largest boost in attendance - Lithuania was up 98.3%, Estonia leapt by 40.2%, Poland increased by 35.8 % and Latvia and Czech Republic were boosted by 22.7% and 21.4% respectively.
The European Audiovisual Observatory is part of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.