This means that over the first quarter of the year, admissions are down 14% on 2002.
But the Cinema Advertising Association is putting a brave face on the figures by pointing out that 2002 was a record-breaking year for the cinema industry. It is also hoping that the summer releases may bolster this poor start to the year.
Debbie Chalet, president of the CAA, said: "2002 saw a record breaking start to the year, the first quarter of 2003 is a steady start. However, cinema still delivers large audiences on a consistent basis. With an action-packed summer of blockbuster films, we are sure that cinema admissions will reach 182m, an increase of 3% on the massive 2002 total."
The romantic comedy 'Maid in Manhattan' topped the box office in March. 'Jackass: The Movie', starring Johnny Knoxville, attracted youth audiences and took £3.4m at the box office.
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