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British box office on track to hit the lowest figure since records began

Ben Arnold
·Contributor
·2-min read
An empty movie theater
(Credit: Getty)

Cinema admissions in the UK are set to be the lowest since records began, back in 1928.

Tickets for the entire year are expected to amount to between 40 million and 44 million, according to The Guardian.

That puts 2020 heading for an historical low, plummeting millions below the previous lowest foot-fall, which came in 1984, despite hit movie including Ghostbusters and The Karate Kid.

Read more: Cineworld to axe 45,000 jobs

That year, 53.8 million travelled through the lobby of UK cinemas.

To add more perspective, last year saw admissions of 176 million, one of the best performances of the UK box office in years.

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However, the coronavirus lockdown has taken nearly £1 billion off ticket sales for 2020, with cinemas across the country closing down in March.

Despite some locations re-opening at the end of July, the UK cinema industry remains in dire straits, with admissions down 75%.

It's thought the box office receipts will £334 million, compared to £1.25 billion last year.

A man walks past a Cineworld cinema in Leicester Square, London, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. The company Cineworld have confirmed that all the 127 UK cineworld cinemas will temporarily close, affecting some 5,500 employees, this is due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the lack of movies at are being released. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Cineworld cinema in Leicester Square, London (Credit: AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Earlier this month, Cineworld, which owns the Regal chain in the US, announced it is cutting 45,000 jobs worldwide, including 5,500 in the UK.

127 Cineworld and Picturehouse venues have now closed.

As well as the lockdown hitting the industry hard, delays of blockbusters such as the new Bond movie No Time To Die, Marvel's Black Widow, Jurassic World: Dominion and The Batman have caused further panic.

Read more: Soul will head straight to Disney+

Christopher Nolan’s action blockbuster Tenet was hoped to be the shot in the arm that the industry so sorely needed, but it has so far made just $323 million worldwide, a fraction of what it would have, spooking major studios in the process.

Studios like Disney and Dreamworks are also now pulling movies from theatrical exhibition too, and sending them directly to streaming, with cinemas increasingly further out of the loop as streaming audiences grow.

It emerged on Friday that Pixar’s new movie Soul will head straight to streaming, arriving on Christmas Day on Disney+.

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