The Irish are still madly in love with cinema. Although gross box office takings have fluctuated between individual years, they remain pretty much on par with what they were ten years ago. Ireland also has the highest admissions per capita in the EU and has done since records began in 1995. At 3.2 we are well above the EU average of 1.9 admissions per capita (source: IHS Screen Digest, based on 2013, 2014 figures will not be available until April 2015).
Cinema admissions and box office revenue for 2014 are almost flat year on year when compared to 2013, with only a slight decrease. Overall ROI box office revenue was €99.9 million, just 2% short of 2013’s figure of €101.89 million. The ROI admissions also went from 14.6 million in 2013 to 14.3 million in 2014, a difference of 2%. The World Cup and the good weather did not have an impact on admissions in ROI, and cinema admissions were actually up 12% in July, largely thanks to d’formidable Mrs. Brown.
Speaking about the very small decline in box office revenue in 2014, Lucy Jones, Executive Director at Rentrak, explained that cinema is “a product-driven market” and that “the audience will turn out for the films that grab their attention, but they need a compelling reason to go – whether that’s a must-see sequel, big-budget effects or 5-star reviews…and 2014 was a ‘year off’ for many of the major franchises like Bond and Avengers.”
There is a lot of diversity in the 2014 box office top ten, from gripping Oscar-winning and Oscar-tipped dramas Wolf of Wall Street and Gone Girl, to sci-fi blockbusters Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1, action/fantasy movies like Guardians Of The Galaxy and The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies, hilarious comedies Mrs. Brown's Boys D'Movie, 22 Jump Street and The Inbetweeners 2, and family favourite, The Lego Movie.
35% of box office revenue came from 3D movies and although sequels and franchise movies accounted for 30% of overall box office takings, original content triumphed in 2014. In 2013, seven of the top ten movies were sequels or re-makes, while in 2014, just five of the overall top ten are sequels and four out of the top five of the top ten films were original movies. Fresh content has captured the Irish public’s imagination very powerfully in 2014, demonstrating again how great the allure of the cinema is for us as a nation.
Comedies were the biggest box office attraction of 2014, contributing to 22% of ticket sales. Irish comedy Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Movie was the box office champion. Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Movie was not only the top comedy but the overall highest grossing movie of 2014 in ROI. Sequels 22 Jump Street and The Inbetweeners 2 also fared well and were the No. 2 and No. 3 comedies in ROI respectively.
The Lego Movie dominated the top ten for much of the year, and 21% of all box office takings came from family films. The top three family movies were The Lego Movie, How To Train Your Dragon 2 and Maleficent.
Action movies were enormously successful again this year, accounting for 20% of box office takings. Action/fantasy movies remain the most popular, with the top three action films all falling into this category - Guardians of the Galaxy, The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies and X-Men: Days Of Future Past.
It was another strong year for drama, two of the overall top five movies were dramas and dramas generated 18% of all box office earnings. Dramas based on books were particularly popular – the top four dramas were all book-to-film adaptations, these were Gone Girl, The Wolf of Wall Street, 12 Years a Slave and The Fault in our Stars.
The No. 1 sci-fi movie was Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the biggest romance was romantic-drama The Fault in our Stars and the top horror film was Annabel (a spin-off from last year’s top horror The Conjuring).
The three most successful Irish films were smash-hit Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Movie, critically-acclaimed Calvary and comedy The Stag, which starred Amy Huberman and Andrew Scott.
“The Irish love affair with cinema is far from over and 2015 is one of the most exciting years that cinema goers have ever seen and is expected to smash Irish box office records” said Eoin Wrixon, General Manager of Wide Eye Media. “Bond, Star Wars, The Minions and Marvel Avengers all back on our screens this year. Other highly-anticipated sequels and franchise movies include Terminator: Genisys, Mad Max: Fury Road, Ted 2, Pitch Perfect 2, Magic Mike XXL, Fast & Furious 7, Jurassic World and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2. ROI cinemas have also been selling advance tickets for Fifty Shades of Grey since last September, even though the film does not release until 13th February, when it is predicted to take the box office by storm”.
For more information on this year's biggest releases, check out Wide Eye Media's guide to the essential movies of 2015.