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COVID-hit France, Spain lead film box office declines in Europe

This article is part of a global monthly series on film revenue in different regions. Read about box office revenue in Latin America here and in the Asia-Pacific region here.

European box office revenue fell 29.4% year over year in the first quarter as the coronavirus led to film theater closures across the region.

Of the tracked markets, France saw the greatest year-over-year decline as revenue fell 47.3%, to total $211.5 million, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence and OPUSData. The country has been in lockdown since March 17, and although certain measures will be relaxed in May, social gatherings and "leisure activities" will remain banned until at least mid-July, President Emmanuel Macron said recently.

After France, the worst impacted countries were Spain and Poland, which saw box office revenues fall 40.3% and 36.3% year over year, respectively.

Italy, which as of April 30 had the highest death toll from COVID-19 in Europe, saw box office revenue fall 27.8% in the first quarter. A bumper January offset greater losses later in the quarter for Italy — January box office revenue was $116.3 million, the country's highest total since December 2017. By contrast, March 2020 revenue was the lowest, at $170,000.

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said April 27 that lockdown measures will gradually be eased, but larger social gatherings will continue to be banned for several weeks.

READ MORE: Sign up for our weekly coronavirus newsletter here, and read our latest coverage on the crisis here.

The number of film releases in Europe fell 64.7% year over year. Top grossing film lists went unchanged in March, with Neal Street Productions Ltd.'s "1917" and Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.'s "Bad Boys For Life," released in Europe in January, leading several tracked markets.

Eurasian countries Russia and Turkey saw more modest impacts to box office revenue, with year-over-year falls of 4.8% and 5.3% in the quarter, respectively.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said April 28 the country had yet to feel the full impact of the pandemic.

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