ECA View: Event Cinema: A big screen staple

After her first year in the role, the ECA’s MD Grainne Peat reflects on the buoyancy of the sector.


 In the UK and Ireland, June 2019 broke records for event cinema, taking over £6m at the box office. CinemaLive’s “Take That – Greatest Hits Live”, returned to the big screen, taking over £2m. It is currently the highest grossing event cinema of 2019 and the seventh biggest title ever. While overall box office across the industry saw a dip in the early part of the year, we’re now seeing growth in all areas, especially event cinema. National Theatre is having a strong year with “All About Eve” and “All My Sons” (the third and fourth highest grossing titles of 2019) and there is still more to come. 

Our sector made its stage debut at CineEurope, delivering a landmark presentation to a full house. The hour-long show was rich in content, with exclusive announcements and personal messages from well-known stars. With a keynote from the CEO of Vue Entertainment, Tim Richards, the show saw content providers take to the stage to deliver an enticing range of titles for European cinemas. With presentations from Dutch, French, Italian, American, Australian and British entities, it showcased the diversity of event cinema.

Also in June, in partnership with Comscore, the ECA launched its first Annual Report: 2018 was a successful year, particularly in the UK, and with a refreshed globally focused association, it is an exciting time to provide a united voice in a fast-changing industry. Our annual report demonstrates the importance of collating and sharing data and trends. While there is a lot that can be refined for future editions, it was a valuable and welcome fact-finding mission to pull together Box Office admissions from more than 10 different territories (including the US, Australia, Russia and France). It includes a range of insight from content providers, vendors and cinemas. (For a copy, email

Amsterdam for the annual conference

Collatiing and sharing data will be at the heart of our annual conference that takes place at the EYE Film Museum in Amsterdam on Thursday 10 October. We envision a wide discussion around the need for a universal (and agreed) categorisation of event cinema to help get better transparency of performance. There is no doubt that the sector has evolved and is mainly defined by content and/or by methodology of release — even within these categorisations, it is not always clear what is considered to be ‘event cinema content’. This is a much-needed discussion that the ECA is best-placed to steer. 

In partnership with UNIC and EDCF, the ECA has launched a survey into event cinema. It’s purpose is to gain a better understanding on issues relating to technical delivery and marketing of our content. The survey will be shared through the networks of the ECA, UNIC and EDCF, with a link available on the ECA’s website. This will help develop understanding about how event cinema performs — frequency, ticket prices, delivery methods and issues — and to understand how the ECA can support members with marketing and delivery.  

The conference will present a wide range of topics for our community, and a fantastic opportunity to network with members and colleagues across Europe. For details, visit