2003 was the worst year for the circulation of Europeanfilms within the EU on record, according to new figures from the EuropeanAudiovisual Observatory.

Only 6.3% of admissions to European films were earned in EUcountries outside of their home markets - down from 9.9% last year.

UK/US co-productions Johnny English and Love Actually were the only European films to make it into the top20 list of films across the EU, coming in at 11th and 14thpositions respectively. Johnny English registered 13.8m admissions in Europe; Love Actually 12.6m.

By contrast, US films increased their penetration in Europeby 1.6%, taking a total of 72.1% of European Union market. Finding Nemo was the biggest film in Europe last year, with 37.7madmissions followed by The Matrix Reloaded (31.9m) and The Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl (29m).

Figures also show that European films proved less popular inthe US, taking a market share of 3.3% in 2003 - a further drop inrelation to the already low figure of 4.5% earned in 2002.

The EAO estimates that the overall market share for Europeanfilms in the EU - which also takes into account their performance ontheir home turf - reached 25.7%, a drop of 2.1% from 2002.

Films from other parts of the world earned just 2.2% ofadmissions, with the most successful being Chinese film Hero, Brazilian feature City Of God and Canada/France's The BarbarianInvasions.

954 million cinema tickets were sold in the European Unionin 2003, 45 million less than 2002 - representing a fall in attendance ofaround 4.4% across the 25 member states. Only seven countries posted increases- the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Malta and theNetherlands. Germany saw the steepest decline, followed by France.

The figures also show the huge problems facing the newentrants to the EU. Just six films from the 10 new entrants to the EU weredistributed in the original 15 member states. Their total audience amounted tojust 37,000 tickets sold, representing a 0.005% market share.

Production volume across the 25 countries in the EUincreased by 3% in 2003, with 752 European films shot last year.

Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain showedthe most significant year on year increase in production levels.