European animation is entering into a 'make or breakperiod' over the next few years as a string of high budget films produced inEurope hit the market.

That's the conclusion of a new report from Screen Digest,called Animated Movies - US and European Market Assessment.

US animations captured the lion's share of admissions inEurope, taking an 87.6% market share in 2003. In the same year, European filmstook just nine per cent of admissions.

At the same time, European animated films have struggledin the US market. Between 1997 and 2003, only three European films had a widerelease in the USA (and one was Chicken Run, financed largely byDreamworks SKG). Japanese films released during the same period were far moresuccessful.

The signs are, though, that European producers arefighting back and a number of high budget films in Europe are now inproduction. They include: Pathe's The Magic Roundabout, Aardman'supcoming Wallace And Gromit movie, M6 Studio's Asterix And TheVikings, and Arthur - a EuropaCorp production with a reported Euros65m budget.

The report's author Tim Westcott commented: "It's aninteresting time for European studios: there are a number of high budget filmscoming up which will make the next year or two something of a make or breakperiod for the industry in Europe."