Cinema-attendance in the Netherlands rose again in 2003, despite fears of a fall because of the state of the economy.

Admissions rose 2.5% to a total of 24.7m, while box office rose 3.5% to Euros 162.5m according to national cinema body NFC.

NFC-chairman Wilco Wolfers told that the good results were largely due to the increasing number of new cinemas and the updated quality in sound and vision in the theatres.

He added that more people in their thirties were discovering cinema again thanks to films like The Lord of the Rings. Wolfers commented: "That is a good tendency - it is not healthy to depend only on youngsters''.

Local productions also had a big influence in the rise. With a market share of 13.6 % the national film industry scored its best result in years - up from 2002's 10.3 %. The most successful local movie was the family-orientated summer hit Skippers Of The Kameleon with 743.000 admissions.

For 2004, the NFC hopes to maintain the current level of attendance. Compared to 2003, fewer new venues will be opened. The number of local premieres is also expected to be less than last year.

Top 10 2003 films based on admissions
1 Finding Nemo 1.077.000
2 The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers 1.038.000
3 The Matrix Reloaded 992.000
4 Pirates Of The Caribbean 990.000
5 Die Another Day 976.000
6 Bruce Almighty 906.000
7 Lord Of The Rings 3 900.000
8 De Schippers Van De Kameleon 743.000
9 Johnny English 596.000
10 The Matrix Revolutions 527.000

Top 10 Dutch films 2003 based on admissions
1 Skippers Of The Kameleon 743.000
2 Twin Sisters 512.000
3 Pietje Bell 2 445.000
4 Pietje Bell 1 336.000
5 Phileine Says Sorry 298.000
6 Liever Verliefd 245.000
7 Godforsaken! 191.000
8 Pipo The Clown And The Pearl Knight 140.000
9 Polleke 94.000
10 Cloaca 93.000

Source: NFC