19 Mar 2020

2019 was a spectacular year for cinema in Ireland. Not only did four films make it into ROI’s top ten biggest films of the last decade, but three were among the top performing movies of all time in ROI.

“The Republic of Ireland’s top films of the last ten years is an eclectic mix featuring spacemen, cowboys, heroes, villains, those that fall somewhere in between, and the music of ABBA!” said Eoin Wrixon, CEO of Wide Eye Media. “It’s unsurprising to see the incredible force that is STAR WARS at No. 1. The latest chapter, THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, climbed to No. 9 in the ROI Top Ten films of 2019 despite releasing less than two weeks before the year ended. The original movies shaped modern film making forever and, over forty years later, the franchise remains as irresistible as when it first arrived.” according to Wrixon.

Final ROI admissions figures for December 2019 have yet to be tallied but they are expected to be 15% higher than the same month last year and one of the biggest Decembers on record. Total admissions for 2019 are predicted to exceed 15 million for the second year in a row with annual box office revenue up by 0.12% from €117.3 million in 2018 to €117.4 million in 2019.

The number of films released in ROI rose by 5% from 448 in 2018 to 472 in 2019. Family films accounted for 34% of all box office takings, making this the most popular genre of 2019. Action movies and dramas were tied in second place, with 22% of box office receipts each. Musicals generated 18% of 2019 earnings while comedies took 11%.

The top Irish film was acclaimed horror THE HOLE IN THE GROUND. THE LION KING was the biggest family film. AVENGERS: ENDGAME was the highest earning action movie. JOKER was the most popular thriller. DOWNTON ABBEY was the best performing drama. ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD was the highest grossing comedy/drama. INSTANT FAMILY was the biggest straight comedy and LAST CHRISTMAS the favourite romantic comedy. AD ASTRA and IT: CHAPTER 2 topped the sci-fi and horror charts respectively.

“Despite all the changes to our culture and the nature of entertainment over the last ten years, cinema remains one of our favourite leisure activities”, said Eoin Wrixon, “the unique shared viewing experience made possible by a cinema auditorium is a massive part of the attraction.”

For the third year in a row, the No. 1 attraction at the ROI Box was a story propelled by powerful musical content. THE LION KING was No. 1 in 2019, MAMMA MIA: HERE WE GO AGAIN topped the charts in 2018 while BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was the favourite film of 2017. All three of these rely heavily on music and songs which forms a large part of their appeal.

According to Wrixon, “Musicals resonate with Irish audiences much more than with any other nationality. It is enormous fun to watch a movie of this genre in a massive crowd, many of whom are singing along. This heightens the atmosphere, increases enjoyment, and is not something which can be achieved at home to the same scale”.

There are even more high-profile musicals planned for 2020 which are guaranteed to have audiences singing and dancing in the aisles. These include MILITARY WIVES featuring new material from Robbie Williams and starring Irish actor Sharon Horgan (March), the big-screen adaptation of Broadway smash-hit IN THE HEIGHTS (August), Aretha Franklin biopic RESPECT (August) and Spielberg’s remake of WEST SIDE STORY (December).

“2019 was an exceptional year for Irish audiences with so many sensational stories capturing our imaginations, but we are even more excited about the line-up for 2020 as a magical new decade of movies begins” said Eoin Wrixon.

More 2020 highlights include BOMBSHELL and A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD later this month, EMMA and THE INVISIBLE MAN in February, ONWARD and MULAN in March, the new Bond film NO TIME TO DIE and THE SECRET GARDEN in April, BLACK WIDOW and THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE in May, WONDER WOMAN 1984 and SOUL in June, TENET, TOP GUN 2, GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE and MINIONS 2 in July, INFINITE and BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC in August, Sopranos’ prequel THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK and DEATH ON THE NILE in September, THE WITCHES and HALLOWEEN KILLS in October, and GODZILLA VS. KONG and KING RICHARD in November. DUNE and COMING 2 AMERICA bring the year to a close in December.