Cinemas really do take a box office beating during the World Cup

Lynsey Barber
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Film fans avoid the cinema during World Cup month (Source: Getty)

Cineworld said yesterday that ticket sales have taken a kicking from the World Cup and people would rather be watching ball games in Brazil than blockbuster movies.

It might sound like an excuse, but cinemas really do lose out every four years - unless the host country is on the opposite side of the world.

Cinema admissions dropped to a near historic low of 8.71m in June of 2010 during the South African World Cup.

That’s not just bad for a World Cup year, or even for the month of June, it’s the worst monthly cinema attendance in the last 11 years, apart from September of 2006.

That’s despite total numbers hitting their peak in the same year, with almost 180 million movie-goers making their way through the doors of UK cinemas in 2010, the highest in 11 years.

Back in June 2006, attendance again dropped to an almost record low of 8.73m when the World Cup was hosted by Germany.

Fewer admissions mean people are handing over less money for tickets and those expensive little extras like drinks and popcorn that are lucrative for cinema chains.

Going further back to 2002, the South Korean World Cup bucked the trend however, and cinemas managed to retain a healthy 12 million admissions, 4 million more than the following two World Cup events and even higher than the 11 year average for the month of June.

The different time zones meant football fans were watching matches in the early morning, compared to 2010 and 2006 when games were in the evening.

Considering there’s just a four hour time difference between the UK and this year’s World Cup host country Brazil, it’s likely that cinema chains didn’t have a very good month in June, but they will be hoping not to drop below that 8.71m low of the last World Cup.

Chart note: Monthly breakdown of cinema attendance started being recorded in 2002.

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