Media Lifeline: UK cinema admissions

The silver screen has never been more appealing and audiences continue to rise.

2006: The nadir for UK cinema admissions came in 1985 when the figure dropped to an annual total of 54 million. The business was shocked into action, with the studios getting their act together and cinema chains beginning to reinvest in their facilities. On a seemingly ever-upward trajectory again, admissions passed 150 million in 2001. But then came a plateau, with worries in 2003 and 2006 that a downward trend was kicking in once more.

JULY 2007: But the summer of 2007 dispels any such worries, thanks to films including Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, Shrek The Third, The Simpsons Movie and Transformers. The opening week of these last two (beginning 27 July) is one of the best ever weeks in UK cinema history and the admissions figure for July, 21,834,442, is the highest for a single month since the 70s.

JULY 2008: July 2008 notches up admissions of 21,421,122, with star attractions including Mamma Mia!, Hancock and The Dark Knight. June to August generates 53,642,237 admissions, making this the best summer for cinema audiences in living memory.

FEBRUARY 2009: The phenomenon is not just about kids and the summer holidays, however. Slumdog Millionaire pushes January's figures (14.5 million) to their year-on-year highest for five years - and February's (14.9 million) aren't bad either, courtesy of family successes such as Bolt and Hotel For Dogs.

JULY 2009: May's admissions, released last week by the Cinema Advertising Association, are 15,775,945, making it the best May for attendances since 1969. And, thanks to the likes of Angels And Demons, the January to May period is up 16 per cent year on year.

FAST FORWARD: October 2009 The back end of the year is loaded with hits too, not least Shutter Island, which brings together the talents of Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio. There are worrying reports from internet service providers, however, of a big leap in illegal downloading, with pirated copies of first run films spreading within hours of their premieres - and there are worries that the medium's renaissance is about to turn sour.

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