2018 UK cinema admissions were highest since 1970, it’s been revealed

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The average cost of a UK cinema ticket dropped in 2018 as well.

Well, yikes. Against a narrative backdrop that cinema is dying, we’re all going to be streaming everything, and that people don’t want to watch films anymore, new figures from the UK Cinema Association have revealed that 2018 was a bumper year at British multiplexes.

The numbers reveal a 3.7% year on year jump in cinema admissions to 177,001,481 in 2018. Box office takings were steady at just shy of £1.3bn. That’s reflective, interestingly enough, of a small drop in the average price of a UK cinema ticket to £7.22. That’s been put down to “tactical discounting in the sector”.

The rise is particularly surprising given the success and popularity of the World Cup in 2018, that saw the England football team do surprisingly well. Ordinarily, that’d lead to a decrease in admissions, although many big blockbusters programmed around it.

The flip side to this is that the big seem to be getting bigger, and the smaller films aren’t. Ten films crossed the £30m mark at the UK box office in 2018, up from six in 2017. As such, those ten took over a quarter of cinema revenue in Britain. We’re not going to knock people paying to watch films at the movies, but hopefully next year we can get the good news that admissions are up, and more smaller films are feeling the benefit.

Also in 2018, over a dozen new cinemas opened in the UK, and the UK Cinema Association also reports “massive investment in the cinema infrastructure”, with many sites undergoing major refurbishments.

In the words of the Association’s Chief Executive, Phil Clapp, “these fantastic figures for 2018 confirm that the UK cinema sector remains in extraordinary health. The UK public has responded with overwhelming enthusiasm both to the breadth of the film slate and the quality and range of different cinema offers delivered by UKCA members across the country”.

He added that “whatever the competing attractions, be they in-home viewing or other out of home leisure opportunities, UK cinemas have shown that the big screen experience continues to be an irresistible draw for many”.

Let’s see what 2019 will bring. Fingers crossed for further cinema admission rises.

Image: BigStock

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