Market Insight

A review of the 2016 cinema exhibition market

February 20, 2017  | Subscribers Only

Xin Zhang Xin Zhang Senior Research Analyst, Cinema, IHS Markit
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The health of the global cinema-going industry looks positive in 2016 from territories that have reported so far with total admissions increasing by 6.0% to reach 3.4 billion, based on the 39 territories that have results available in the IHS Markit Cinema Intelligence service. Despite the admissions growth, currency issues have led to an annual decline in box office for these 39 countries of 3.2% over last year.

The regional picture is mixed (where data is available): Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America have displayed substantial growth, however the latter has been largely affected by currency issues; Western Europe suffered an overall loss; for Asia, the slowdown in Chinese box office will bring down the overall results.



In 2016, there was significant growth in Central and Eastern Europe. The Polish film industry recorded its best year ever with box office up 17.6% and admissions up 16.6%, partially driven by successful local films (five titles made the top 10 and three in the top five).  Czech Republic and Slovakia enjoyed the most significant growth in the region, with over 20% growth in both box office and admissions. Other Central and Eastern European countries also experienced positive growth in 2016, notably Croatia (box office 15.2%, admissions 4.2%), Estonia (box office 13.7%, admissions 6.7%), Latvia (box office 10.8%, admissions 4.2%), Romania (box office 10.2%, admissions 7.5%) and Russia (box office 9.6%, admissions 10.2%).

Western Europe suffered an overall loss with total box office dropping by 16.3% in 2016; Germany is one of the main reasons for the decrease. With a 12% drop in box office and 13% drop in admissions, the German film market had a bad year in 2016.  Other western countries suffering from an admissions drop were Austria (9.9%), Belgium (7.5%), Denmark (5.5%), UK (2.3%), Finland (1.1%), Luxembourg (3.8%) and Switzerland (7.3%).


Latin America

Latin America continued to grow in 2016, driven largely by Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. However this region has been largely affected by currency issues. Argentina saw the most growth in the region with an increase of 23.1% in box office in local currency, but this dropped by 22.8% in dollar terms. The result can be put down to the exchange rate and to a lesser extent rising ticket prices, despite a 6.2% drop in the total admissions. Mexico and Brazil had another good year with box office increasing by 8.9% and 10.7% respectively (much lower in dollar terms), which come with a rise of 10.5% and 7.0% in total admissions.



For the four territories (Australia, China, HK and Turkey) with 2016 data available so far in this region (in IHS Markit Cinema Intelligence service), China is the only country to report a positive result in both box office and admissions, albeit at a much slower pace compared to its previous performance. The Chinese cinema market surprised the global industry with a 3.6% growth in box office in 2016, given its substantial growth in the past decade and the 48.7% surge in 2015. There are mixed factors behind the slowdown: weaker local films, a crackdown on box-office fraud, cutbacks in last year's generous ticket subsidies from online platforms which lead to higher ticket price, and the overall weakness in the Chinese economy.


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