The Lithuanian Film Centre reveals local box office results of 2020. Lithuanian cinemas, which received an average of 30 000 visitors a month before the pandemic, will remember the year 2020 as one of the worst – the closed doors due to lockdowns resulting in almost three times less footfall and revenue.
According to the Lithuanian Film Centre, before the pandemic the film screening market in Lithuania was seeing an increasing interest in films (383 films were shown, 4.1 million tickets were sold and 22.495 million euros were collected in 2019). The revenues were as much as 20% higher in January and February of 2020 than for the same period of 2019. Therefore, expecting the trend to continue, the film-screening companies planned for a 5% increase in revenue for 2020, but the pandemic and the two lockdowns have significantly altered these expectations.
Although the beginning of 2020 promised a great year, by the end the revenue and the number of spectators had dropped by almost three times. The revenue of film-screening companies was only 8.4 million in 2020 and barely 1.5 million tickets were sold. There were 271 films screened in the country’s cinemas, 13 of these were the premieres of Lithuanian films.
The year of the pandemic was a challenge not only for cinemas, but also for filmmakers who had been forced to stop filming and to postpone any premieres. This was reflected in the statistics of films shown in Lithuania. The share of US films shown in Lithuanian cinemas fell sharply. Films which would normally have had the largest annual market share fell to 52.21% last year (down from 60.88% in 2019), but the share of European films increased to 23.73% (up from 15.77% in 2019). The share of National films also grew to 21.87% (from 19.64% in 2019).
Lithuanian films also found themselves in the top ten of the most popular films shown in Lithuania in 2020. Robert Razma’s romantic comedy “The Perfect Date” was the most popular film in Lithuania with 146,815 viewers last year. In second place was Simonas Aškelavičius’ comedy “Imported Groom”, which saw 115,283 viewers. Both films managed to achieve these results even before the first lockdown was announced.
Due to the unfavourable circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – which limited the activities of cinemas and cinema distributors – the Lithuanian Film Center awarded one-time grants to cinemas and film distributors last year. The measure was intended to reduce – at least in part – the financial loss of film screening companies and distributors. The total budget of the grants reached 2.8 million euros with 560,000 euros allocated to film distributors and 2.24 million euros to cinemas.
The statistics for 2020 are available here: http://www.lkc.lt/en/lithuanian-film-center/statistics/