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European box office down 65.7% YOY amid limited spring releases, openings

S&P Global Market Intelligence is resuming the publication of its global monthly series on film revenue in different regions. Publication for each featured region is dependent upon sufficient box office data as theaters reopen on different timelines in various parts of the globe following pandemic-related shutdowns in early 2020.

European box office revenue fell 65.7% year over year in the first six months of 2020 to US$1.16 billion, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence and OPUSData, with the limited number of recent theater reopenings hampered by strict health regulations and a lack of new film releases.

The number of films released in Europe in June was down 86.6% year over year with 39, an improvement from April and May but still far from recovered from pandemic-related disruption. Only one film was released in Europe in April, followed by nine in May. That compared to 128 films released in Europe in March (down 63.8% year over year), the same month when the World Health Organization officially declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. Major Hollywood studios have postponed the release of films expected to drive big box office receipts, including The Walt Disney Co.'s live-action remake of princess film "Mulan" and Warner Bros.'s spy film "Tenet."

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The United Kingdom remained Europe's largest film market with US$255.5 million in aggregate gross from the box office during the six-month period of 2020, down 69.0% year over year. That reflects three months with no reported box office revenue — in April, May and June — as theaters were closed. Cineworld, one of the region's largest chains, said it planned to open its cinemas in England on July 31, but it noted that continued health-related restrictions meant it would not be reopening cinemas at that time in the rest of the U.K.

The U.K. also had the region's most film releases in the first half of the year, at 177, down 54.3% year over year, with none of those opening in the second quarter.

The Netherlands led Europe for the most film debuts in June, with 19, though that did not translate into a box office recovery. The country reported US$2.03 million in aggregate gross box office receipts in June, down 91.6% year over year. For the first half of the year, the Netherlands took in US$63.4 million at the box office, down 59.3% year over year. The Dutch government allowed theaters to reopen in June with strict capacity and social distancing requirements.

Theaters in France and Poland also began reopening in June, according to media reports. France reported the second-largest box office gross receipts in Europe for the first six months of the year, with US$216.6 million, down 71.0% over the year. Five films opened in France in June. Poland grossed US$56.4 million, down 57.5% year over year. That country saw four films released in June.

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