Screen International next week hosts the European Box Office Forum.The event on December8th at the Waldorf Hilton, London.

will analyse the most up-to-date European boxoffice figures - and demystify the various measuring tools used to devise those figures.

Major industry figures and experts will help correct the many false assumptions concerning international movie-going habits and audience numbers.

The analysis comes amid a flurry of divergent opinions about the current state of the world's box office and industry-wide concerns about cinema's ability to keep attracting audiences to theatrical venues.

Some of those concerns, argues Colin Brown, Editor-in-Chief of Screen International, are predicated on misleading information.

"For years now, the film industry has operated on two central assumptions. That the North American marketplace is the dominant continent for film consumption. And that the box office grosses themselves, particularly the opening weekend figures across North American remains the ultimate measure of a film's performance in the marketplace. Both beliefs are in desperate need of being challenged," said Brown.

"For one thing, Europe-wide admissions are still on course to eclipse those from North America within a couple of years. Before the Berlin Wall came down, European admissions were twice those of the so-called "domestic" market; with a capitalistic Eastern Europe coming on strong again, there is no reason why they cannot be so again.

"More importantly, how we judge a film's success has to be re- evaluated. As it stands, the box office gross is a blunt bludgeon of an instrument that tells us very little about a movie's popularity or profitability other than the breadth of its release and the scale of its marketing budget. New and sophisticated metrics have to be devised that reflect movie-going popularity on a local, regional, demographic and even budget level.

"All of which explains why Screen International is staging the first ever European Box Office Summit in London next month.

With all the despairing talk of cinema being in terminal decline, we need a better set of diagnostic tools in order to treat any symptoms of audience malaise. In doing so, we may learn that this business is in much ruder health than commonly thought."

Key questions speakers will beaddressing include an analysis of what the most telling box office figures arereally saying, which European territories are punching above or below their weight, and whether a film's success should still be predicted on the opening weekend.

Other sessions discuss whether Europe is in a perpetualadmissions slump, whether Europe's cinemas are merely an elaborate marketingwindow for viewing movies at home, and how far the drive towards simultaneous releasing is killing off potential word-of-mouth business. Above all, asks the Forum, what are the most reliable metrics for predicting and measuringfilm performance in Europe'

Key speakers confirmed at this eventinclude:

Tomas Jegeus and Paul Hanneman, JointExecutive Vice Presidents - International, 20th Century Fox International
Jean Labadie, Chairman, Bac Films
Richard Napper, Managing Director, Sony PicturesReleasing
Tim Richards, CEO, Vue Entertainment
Christine Costello, Chief Executive, Pearl and Dean
Steve Knibbs, COO, VueEntertainment
Dennis Davidson, Chairman, DDA PR

For more information go to the conferences section on this site.