Cinemagoing figures for last year in the UK and Ireland were confirmed today, with 2020 delivering 47.8m admissions in total. Reflecting the impact of COVID-19 on the cinema sector, a 75% drop in cinema visits followed one of the highest recent years on record (2019’s 191.1m admissions.)
The average ticket price was £6.75, falling below the £7.00 threshold in the territory for the first time since 2014. The dip in ticket value was less severe than that of both admissions and box office.
January/February saw the sector in rude health thanks to a wide range of well received films catering for the breadth of audience tastes, with footfall for the first two months of the year up an excellent 19% on the same period in 2019. Altogether, Q1 delivered more than 80% of 2020’s total cinema visits.
From early March onwards, as with all other entertainment, hospitality and arts sectors, significantly lower attendance was inevitable with many cinemas closing their doors and going dark for lengthy periods due to numerous regional and national lockdowns.
As the public were forced to stay at home amidst pandemic restrictions and the ever-shifting cinema landscape resulted in a dearth of marquee films between lockdowns, when cinemas were able to reopen, audience numbers could not fully recover for the year.
With vaccine rollout programmes in full swing, a relaxation of current restrictions could soon be on the horizon. When the time comes, cinemas will be ready to safely welcome back customers to the big screen with a raft of high-profile titles set to sate pent-up audience demand.