Ireland's love of big screen continues as box office enjoys best year in decade

Cinemas enjoyed their best year in almost a decade, as soaring admissions generated bumper returns at the box office.

Ireland's love of big screen continues as box office enjoys best year in decade

Cinemas enjoyed their best year in almost a decade, as soaring admissions generated bumper returns at the box office.

The Irish box office netted €117.4m, the highest figure since 2010, in a history-making year that saw three blockbusters each pull in well over €6m.

The Lion King roared into the leas as the top-grossing movie of 2019 with €6,542,001;Avengers: Endgamecame in second place with €6,408,459, closely followed by Joker, which made €6,330,724.

The same three pictures are now officially amongst the Top Ten most successful films of all time in Ireland - the first time three releases from the same year have made it onto the coveted all-time movies' chart.

The same three movies, plus fourth-placed Toy Story 4 - which made just under €6m - are also now officially in the chart for the 10 biggest films of the last decade.

Closer analysis of the figures reveals that total admissions for 2019 exceeded 15 million for the second year in a row, with annual box office revenue up by €4m from 2017 and slightly ahead of 2018's bumper €117.3m takings to €117.4m last year.

The buoyant industry is also reflected in another increase in the number of films being released - up from 448 in 2018 to 472 last year.

According to analysts at Wide Eye Media, family films - including strong performances from Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2 - accounted for 34% of all box office takings, making this the most popular genre of 2019. Of the ten best-performing movies, no less than seven of them were distributed by Walt Disney Studios. The top-performing Irish film was acclaimed horror flick The Hole In The Ground - though this failed to chart in the Top Ten.

Commenting on last year's trends, Eoin Wrixon of Wide Eye Media said this year's chart-topper was once again propelled by powerful musical content.

"The Lion King was number one in 2019, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again topped the charts in 2018, while Beauty And The Beast was the favourite film of 2017. All three of these rely heavily on music and songs which forms a large part of their appeal.

"Musicals resonate with Irish audiences much more than with any other nationality. It is enormous fun to watch a movie of this genre in a massive crowd, many of who are singing along. This heightens the atmosphere, increases enjoyment, and is not something which can be achieved at home to the same scale."

Meanwhile, industry sources have predicted that musicals could once again trigger another lucrative year ahead, with high-profile singalongs, including Military Wives - featuring new material from Robbie Williams and starring Irish actress Sharon Horgan. Other musical flicks include the big-screen adaptation of Broadway smash-hit In The Heights in August, the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect in August and Stephen Spielberg's highly-anticipated remake of West Side Story in December.

"Despite all the changes to our culture and the nature of entertainment over the last ten years, cinema remains one of our favourite leisure activities. The unique shared viewing experience, made possible by a cinema auditorium, is a massive part of the attraction," Mr Wrixon said.

"Last year was an exceptional year for Irish audiences, with so many sensational stories capturing our imaginations, but we are even more excited about the line-up for 2020 as a magical new decade of movies begins."

    Top 10 Films of 2019
  • 1. The Lion King - €6,542,001
  • 2. Avengers: Endgame - €6,408,459
  • 3. Joker - €6,350,724
  • 4. Toy Story 4 - €5,977.865
  • 5. Frozen II - €4,751,756
  • 6. Spider-Man: Far From Home - €3,339,554
  • 7. Downton Abbey - €2,996,318
  • 8. Captain Marvel - €2,831,922
  • 9. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - €2,770,193
  • 10. Aladdin- €2,610,185
  • * Republic of Ireland Top Films of 2019 (Jan 1, 2019 - Dec 31, 2019). Source: Wide Eye Media

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