Wednesday 15 January 2020 4:22 pm

UK box office revenue tops £1.25bn as cinemas fend off streaming giants

UK cinemas pulled in more than £1.25bn last year as film fans continue to flock to the big screen despite the growing popularity of streaming services.

Cinema admissions exceeded 176m in 2019 as punters were drawn in by blockbuster hits such as Avengers: Endgame, The Lion King and Joker.

It marks the third consecutive year that UK box office revenue has exceeded £1.25bn. Admissions were down marginally on the 177m recorded in 2018 — the highest level for 50 years.

The healthy attendance figures top off a decade of steady growth for UK cinema, with ticket sales rising 27 per cent since 2010.

The big screen boom highlights the continued popularity of traditional film-watching habits amid the rise of streaming giants such as Netflix and Amazon.

The industry has been boosted by the growth of boutique cinema chains such as Everyman, which attract audiences with premium seating and food and drink offers. In its full-year results Everyman today reported a record 25 per cent growth in sales.

Overall, cinema-going gained strong momentum throughout last year, with the final six weeks delivering box office revenue 23 per cent higher than the same period in 2018.

“The 2019 figures prove that cinema is alive and in remarkable shape with audiences having better access to a diverse film slate and massive investment making the big screen experience better value than ever,” said Iain Jacod, chair of industry body Cinema First, which published the figures.

“As we enter a new decade, the film production sector in the UK continues to flourish, generating significant value to the UK economy and British films continue to captivate audiences both at home and abroad.”

Film fans have enjoyed a bumper start to the new year, with continued strong runs for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Little Women, as well as new hits such as First World War epic 1917, which pulled in £7.3m on its opening weekend.