Movie theatres continue to lose viewers

Austerity, a rise in online home-entertainment services and online film piracy are likely to be behind the decreasing number of cinema-goers as Portugal’s movie theatres registered a 3.8% drop in 2014. Each cinema screening had, on average, just 20 viewers.

Data from the National Cinema and Audiovisual Institute (ICA) shows that the number of cinema-goers dropped to 12 million (-3.8%) last year – in other words, 480,000 fewer people than in 2013.

Going back 10 years, the decline of movie theatres is even more evident. In 2004, the number of cinema-goers was around 17.1 million.

Revenue was also down in 2014, having dropped 4.3% to €62.7 million.

Only some of the biggest blockbusters were able to attract a considerable number of viewers.

‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’ was seen by the most filmgoers in Portugal (344,000), followed by science-fiction film starring Scarlett Johansson ‘Lucy’ (309,000) and animation movie ‘Penguins of Madagascar’ (300,000).

NOS Lusomundo, Portugal’s biggest film distributor, saw its gross revenue drop 7.7% to €38.6 million in 2014, while the Algarve’s Algarcine registered a 24.5% decrease, only making €448,043 last year.

Orient Cineplace was the only company that saw gross revenue increase significantly (+219.2%), from €1.7 million to €5.4 million. But this is easily explained by the fact that the company took over 10 cinema halls across Portugal between 2013 and 2014 – these included the cinema theatres at Portimão’s Continente shopping centre and Guia’s Algarve Shopping, previously run by the financially-troubled film distribution company Castello-Lopes.

By MICHAEL BRUXO [email protected]