Film the reel deal as cinema attendances up 11%

THE numbers of people going to the cinema has jumped by more than 11% according to the latest attendance figures.

More than 1.6 million Irish movie-goers went to the cinema in February to see a diverse range of films including the Oscar-winning The King’s Speech, the highest grossing film at the Irish box office so far this year.

That total was up 11.2% on the equivalent month in 2010.

The national campaign to digital cinema is continuing with the Bantry Cinemax being the latest cinema to convert to an entirely digital system.

This takes the number of digital screens in Ireland up to 139, almost one-third of all screens nationwide.

The year ahead should see continued steady trading in the Irish cinema industry with a number of major films due over the summer months, including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides — both of which took the box office by storm with their previous offerings.

In the action genre, films like Thor, Captain America and Super 8 will likely play to solid audiences, while comedy, in the form of the follow-up to the No 1 movie of 2009, The Hangover 2 should~ also play well.

Intellectual thrillers like The Debt starring Helen Mirren, Tinker, Sailor, Soldier, Spy with Colin Firth and Contagion featuring a stellar cast led by Matt Damon and Kate Winslet should also do good business.

According to Film Monitor figures for 2010, 38% of 15-34-year-olds go to the cinema every month, and all younger demographics list it as their first choice leisure activity, ahead of playing computer games and watching TV. In the older demographic, 75% of 35-44-year-olds go to the cinema and 20% of 35-44-year-olds are classed as heavy cinema-goers, going once a month or more.

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