Ticket prices are rising faster than inflation in most of the major cinema markets around the world - with the notable exception of Japan.

Japan still has the most expensive tickets in the world, with an average price of Euros 9.48 ($10.47). However, prices have been either stagnant or falling for the past five years, in line with the deflationary pressures on the Japanese economy as a whole. Japanese ticket prices fell 0.2% in 2002.

In contrast, ticket prices have been rising ahead of inflation in most European countries, notably, Germany, Spain, the UK and Italy.

In two of the world's biggest film markets, the UK and Germany, ticket prices increased 3.7% and 5.6% respectively. Neighbouring Spain has shown the fastest growth in cinema ticket prices, with prices rising by 5.9%, while Italy posted a 4.3% increase.

The figures, from Screen Digest, show that much of the European cinema industry seems to be immune from the deflationary pressures affecting some sectors of the economy.

France, meanwhile, posted only a modest increase :1.1% in ticket prices in 2002. It means that, in real terms, French ticket prices are falling - and have been for several years.

The USA saw ticket prices rise by 3.4% in 2002.

The Screen Digest survey also shows that the most expensive cinema ticket prices are found in those countries that lie outside the Eurozone - Sweden, Denmark and the UK.