EUFlagWith Jurassic World having opened the floodgates to summer, European box office is in fighting form as the halfway mark of 2015 approaches. Despite local currency fluctuations — which have meant that the euro, pound and ruble have dipped against the greenback — admissions, and even box office, are up in many territories so far this year. Spurred on by early 2015 hit Fifty Shades Of Grey, followed by Furious 7, Avengers: Age Of Ultron and now the mighty dinosaurs, more people have turned out to the cinemas overall. That’s good news for the studios who are getting more eyeballs in front of their trailers for movies later in the year, and for exhibitors who are feeding a lot more foot traffic.

furious 7In the chart below, we’ve provided a look at the landscape through June 14, with dollar grosses and admissions, when available, listed for the Top 5 movies in each of the major European markets and how they stack up to the Top 5 at the same point last year. (note: the figures were compiled before JW‘s second frame.)

Looking at the chart, and keeping in mind those currency fluctuations, it’s interesting to note some big swings. In 2014, Noah, for example, made $33.9M in Russia off of 4.3M admissions in the first six months of the year. Conversely, in 2015 Ultron topped out at $33M — from 6M admissions. In Spain, The Wolf Of Wall Street last year was the No. 2 pic in the first semester with $16.4M from 2M tickets sold. This year, the 3D Ultron made $13.2M in the first half, from 2.1M admissions. That’s emblematic of the shifts in local currency.

It could be worse. “The disastrous scenario where the euro drops below the dollar has not happened; the markets seem to have stabilized and done a good job to staunch the financial bleeding,” a studio exec tells me. Another says the exchange rate issue is “still affecting us, but not as dramatically as when it first hit in December and January and movies were getting significantly pinched.” Asia has helped balance the scales some with the mind-blowing numbers out of China (even if studios only get 25% of the cut) and with a strong Korean market that has embraced pics like Kingsman: The Secret Service and Mad Max: Fury Road, along with Ultron and the others.

But it’s European exhibition that’s on the minds of the studios this week as the marketing and international distribution crews from the majors — along with some significant indies — gather in Barcelona for the annual Cine Europe event that kicks off today. Here, they’ll showcase tentpoles that are coming in the next six months and beyond as they meet with local teams to map out the latter half of the year. Lobby cards are everywhere for Inside Out, Minions, Ant-Man, Terminator Genisys, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Spectre, Vacation, Everest — the latter two are screening here — and, natch, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, among others.

Spain v Chile World Cup Brazil LossLast year in Barcelona, sentiment was less bullish. That’s not just because reigning champ Spain was booted out of the World Cup soccer tournament in this same week; it’s because of the tournament itself. Every four years, the summer months are given over to the beautiful game, creating headaches for distributors as they hope their release strategies and hedges pay off. There’s no soccer this summer, and that’s got a lot of suits excited. But these sporting events are never far off. Next summer, France hosts the Euro Cup. One exec laments, “Every even year, you’re like, ‘Oh man, again?’ ”

This summer, the territories that will see significant June bumps with no major soccer, folks believe, are Spain, Holland and Germany. Spain could use it, when comparing the performance of this year’s Top 5 titles so far to last year’s for the same period, box office on those movies is down 42% while admissions are off 34%.

perdiendo el norteIt’s important to recall, however, that last year’s numbers were mega-inflated thanks to local juggernaut Spanish Affairs which Universal released to a record-breaking $78M+. Local movies repped a substantial 24% of EMEA box office last year and they do help drive box office overall. Warner Bros’ Spanish title Perdiendo El Norte in the Top 5 so far this year and Sony’s release this weekend of Ahora O Nunca, with some of the stars of Spanish Affairs, was the best bow for a local movie in 2015. Still, “Spaniards are being very cautious about what they spend and making deliberate choices. Going to the movies is a huge luxury.” Complicating matters, there’s been an average decline of 1 euro in ticket prices in Spain in the past 12 months.

France’s un-PC Qu’Est-ce Qu’On A Fait Au Bon Dieu?! grossed over $83M in the first half of 2014 off of 9.3M tickets sold. This year, heartwarmer La Famille Bélier is leading the box office after releasing in late 2014. While dollars are down 23% across the Top 5 titles in our chart, admissions are a slight 6% off. Overall, France remains very strong and often has cyclical patterns.

fifty shades 10Incorporating the exchange rate shifts, I’m told box office in dollar terms was down 13% in the first quarter across all of Europe, the Middle East and Africa; but up 6% in admissions. Removing the effect of local product, the overall market for the Hollywood studios was up 16% in box office and 17% in admissions during that same period. Says one exec, “It’s stellar to be saying the box office is increasing by double digits in good old Europe.”

The markets on a real high in the first semester of 2015 include Germany where, led by Warner Bros’ local family comedy/drama Honig Im Kopf from hit-maker Til Schweiger, the Top 5 films thus far have a 20% box office leg up on last year’s crop, and 41% more admissions. That’s particularly notable given a pretty healthy German box office last year. The follow-up to 2013-2014 smash Fack Ju Goethe opens in September.

American SniperItaly had a particularly strong first semester, in large part thanks to Warner Bros’ American Sniper. Revered in both France and Italy, Clint Eastwood’s films nevertheless generally make about 19% of box office from the former and only 10% from the latter. But a bold decision by Warner Bros to release on January 1 helped propel the numbers. The Great Beauty phenomenon has also had a hand in driving theatrical in 2015. Paolo Sorrentino’s Oscar win in 2014 brought renewed vita to the turnstiles; his recent Youth also had a strong opening post-Cannes last month.

The UK, which has seen recent hits like Paddington and The Inbetweeners 2 help local share, saw low growth in Q1, but the Top 5 titles nevertheless secured 22% more in box office than their 2014 counterparts through June 14. If it follows the path of Skyfall, all bets will be off in the UK when Bond 24 – aka Spectre – bows in the autumn.

As for the rest of the year in general, it’s looking huge. This summer alone still has Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out, Marvel’s Ant-Man, Universal’s Minions and Ted 2, Paramount’s Terminator Genisys and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Warner Bros’ Vacation reboot and Fox’s Fantastic Four to come. Of particular note are the different genres and the room in between them. Spacing is a luxury that gets a hand from having no football. Local movies are also expected to continue performing.

Overall, I’m told by a distribution exec, “This year has been very, very encouraging. It’s the type of year you say, ‘This is why the movie business is not going away.’ ”

Overseas Change: Top 5 Movies In Key Int’l B.O. Territories In 2015 Compared With 2014

UK & Ireland

  1. 2015
  2. 2014
  3. 1

    Avengers: Age Of Ultron(Disney)

    Admissions N/A
    $72.4MGross
  4. 1

    The Lego Movie(Warner Bros)

    Admissions N/A
    $56.9MGross
  5. 2

    Furious 7(Universal)

    Admissions N/A
    $57.1MGross
  6. 2

    X-Men: Days Of Future Past(Fox)

    Admissions N/A
    $42.5MGross
  7. 3

    The Lego Movie(Warner Bros)

    Admissions N/A
    $56.9MGross
  8. 3

    The Amazing Spider-Man 2(Sony)

    Admissions N/A
    $40.4MGross
  9. 4

    Home(Fox)

    Admissions N/A
    $36.0MGross
  10. 4

    The Wolf Of Wall Street(Paramount)

    Admissions N/A
    $37.2MGross
  11. 5

    The Theory Of Everything(Universal)

    Admissions N/A
    $33.3MGross
  12. 5

    12 Years A Slave(eOne)

    Admissions N/A
    $33.0MGross

France

  1. 2015
  2. 2014
  3. 1

    La Famille Belier(Mars)

    Admissions 5.2M
    $42.4MGross
  4. 1

    Qu’est ce qu’on a fait au Bon Dieu?(UGC)

    Admissions 9.3M
    $83.4MGross
  5. 2

    Furious 7(Universal)

    Admissions 4.6M
    $31.6MGross
  6. 2

    Supercondriaque(Pathe)

    Admissions 5.2M
    $46.4MGross
  7. 3

    Avengers: Age Of Ultron(Disney)

    Admissions 4.2M
    $29.1MGross
  8. 3

    Rio 2(Fox)

    Admissions 3.0M
    $26.9MGross
  9. 4

    Fifty Shades Of Grey(Universal)

    Admissions 4.0M
    $29.5MGross
  10. 4

    X-Men: Days Of Future Past(Fox)

    Admissions 2.7M
    $24.2MGross
  11. 5

    American Sniper(Warner Bros)

    Admissions 3.1M
    $22.8MGross
  12. 5

    The Amazing Spider-Man 2(Sony)

    Admissions 2.3M
    $20.5MGross

Germany

  1. 2015
  2. 2014
  3. 1

    Honig Im Kopf(Warner Bros)

    Admissions 5.9M
    $58.3MGross
  4. 1

    The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug(Warner Bros)

    Admissions 2.9M
    $43.1Gross
  5. 2

    Fifty Shades Of Grey(Universal)

    Admissions 4.4M
    $43.7MGross
  6. 2

    The Physician(Universal)

    Admissions 3.4M
    $40.8MGross
  7. 3

    Furious 7(Universal)

    Admissions 4.2M
    $39.8MGross
  8. 3

    The Wolf Of Wall Street(Paramount)

    Admissions 2.4M
    $30.2MGross
  9. 4

    Avengers: Age Of Ultron(Disney)

    Admissions 2.4M
    $29.7MGross
  10. 4

    Vaterfreuden(Warner Bros)

    Admissions 2.3M
    $24.1MGross
  11. 5

    The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies(Warner Bros)

    Admissions 1.4M
    $18.6MGross
  12. 5

    Fack Ju Göhte(Constantin)

    Admissions 2.0M
    $19.9MGross

Netherlands

  1. 2015
  2. 2014
  3. 1

    Furious 7(Universal)

    Admissions N/A
    $8.6MGross
  4. 1

    The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug(Warner Bros)

    Admissions N/A
    $8.9MGross
  5. 2

    Gooische Vrouwen 2(Independent Films)

    Admissions N/A
    $8.3MGross
  6. 2

    Frozen(Disney)

    Admissions N/A
    $7,7MGross
  7. 3

    Michiel De Ruyter(A Film)

    Admissions N/A
    $6.6MGross
  8. 3

    The Wolf Of Wall Street(Paramount)

    Admissions N/A
    $7.6MGross
  9. 4

    Fifty Shades Of Grey(Universal)

    Admissions N/A
    $6.5MGross
  10. 4

    Soof(Independent Films)

    Admissions N/A
    $5.6MGross
  11. 5

    Avengers: Age Of Ultron(Disney)

    Admissions N/A
    $5.3MGross
  12. 5

    Rio 2(Fox)

    Admissions N/A
    $6.1MGross

Spain

  1. 2015
  2. 2014
  3. 1

    Fifty Shades Of Grey(Universal)

    Admissions 3.1M
    $22.6MGross
  4. 1

    Spanish Affairs(Universal)

    Admissions 9.4M
    $77.1MGross
  5. 2

    Furious 7(Universal)

    Admissions 2.1M
    $14.6MGross
  6. 2

    The Wolf Of Wall Street(Universal)

    Admissions 2.0M
    $16.4MGross
  7. 3

    Avengers: Age Of Ultron(Disney)

    Admissions 2.1M
    $13.2MGross
  8. 3

    Rio 2(Fox)

    Admissions 1.4M
    $10.9MGross
  9. 4

    Perdieno El Norte(Warner Bros)

    Admissions 1.6M
    $11.5MGross
  10. 4

    Maleficent(Disney)

    Admissions 1.3M
    $10.6MGross
  11. 5

    The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies(Warner Bros)

    Admissions 1.2M
    $10.7MGross
  12. 5

    Mr. Peabody And Sherman(Fox)

    Admissions 1.2M
    $9.4MGross

Italy

  1. 2015
  2. 2014
  3. 1

    American Sniper(Warner Bros)

    Admissions 2.8M
    $23.0MGross
  4. 1

    Frozen(Disney)

    Admissions 2.3M
    $20.5MGross
  5. 2

    Fifty Shades Of Grey(Universal)

    Admissions 2.8M
    $22.2MGross
  6. 2

    Un Boss In Salotto(Warner Bros)

    Admissions 1.9M
    $16.9MGross
  7. 3

    Furious 7(Universal)

    Admissions 2.7M
    $20.0MGross
  8. 3

    The Wolf Of Wall Street(Paramount)

    Admissions 1.8M
    $16.1MGross
  9. 4

    Si Accettano Miracoli(01 Distribuzione)

    Admissions 2.3M
    $18.7MGross
  10. 4

    Maleficent(Disney)

    Admissions 1.7M
    $15.5MGross
  11. 5

    Avengers: Age Of Ultron(Disney)

    Admissions 2.3M
    $17.8MGross
  12. 5

    Sotto Una Buona Stella(Universal)

    Admissions 1.6M
    $14.0MGross

Russia

  1. 2015
  2. 2014
  3. 1

    Avengers: Age Of Ultron(Disney)

    Admissions 6.0M
    $33.01MGross
  4. 1

    Yolki 1914(Fox)

    Admissions 5.3M
    $38.1MGross
  5. 2

    Furious 7(Universal)

    Admissions 6.2M
    $32.98MGross
  6. 2

    Viy(Universal)

    Admissions 4.4M
    $34.2MGross
  7. 3

    Seventh Son(Universal)

    Admissions 3.4M
    $17.9MGross
  8. 3

    Noah(Paramount)

    Admissions 4.3M
    $33.9MGross
  9. 4

    Exodus: Gods And Kings(Fox)

    Admissions 3.0M
    $16.9MGross
  10. 4

    Maleficent(Disney)

    Admissions 4.6M
    $33.2MGross
  11. 5

    Fifty Shades Of Grey(Universal)

    Admissions 4.2M
    $16.8MGross
  12. 5

    Rio 2(Fox)

    Admissions 4.4M
    $26.7MGross

N/A = Data not reported

Box office through June 14, 2015

Source: Rentrak