While Irish cinema attendance figures remain the highest in the EU, overall box office revenue for 2013 was €102m, 5% down on 2012’s €107m. The decline was also reflected in admissions, which dropped from €15.4 million in 2012 to €14.6 million last year.
The fall-off has been partly attributed to the record-breaking success of the last James Bond film Skyfall in 2012.
Lucy Jones of Rentrak, which provides measurement and analytical services to the entertainment and media industries, said: “Something like Skyfall is a phenomenon because it makes people go to the cinema who don’t normally go.
“However, the Irish performance compares favourably with some other recession-hit eurozone economies such as Spain, which saw a fall in ticket sales of over 15% in 2013 due to high youth unemployment.”
Jones added a similar situation occurred in 2011 with the success of the Oscar-winning The King’s Speech. “Older audiences were motivated to go to the cinema, many for the first time in years. In 2013, we just had the kind of films we normally have, but didn’t have one that captured that audience who don’t normally go.”
3D proved the financial hit in cinemas last year, with seven of the 10 highest grossing films shown in the format and accounting for 43% of all box office revenue. “2013 was a triumphant year for digital cinema, with 3D blockbusters stealing the show,” said Eoin Wrixon, general manager of Carlton Screen Advertising.
Action movies like Iron Man 3 were the biggest box office draws of 2013, contributing to 23% of ticket sales, with dramas like Captain Phillips and Django Unchained contributing to 20% of box office sales.
Philomena and Lincoln both took over €1 million each in ticket sales at Irish cinemas. Irish comedies Calvary, starring Brendan Gleeson, and Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie, with Brendan O’Carroll, are expected to be among the biggest films of 2014.
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