Statistics: Cinema admissions halved in 2020, domestic film output constant

People running away from an explosion at the Linnahall, a scene from 'Tenet', the most-attended movie screening in Estonian in the coronavirus-blighted year of 2020.
People running away from an explosion at the Linnahall, a scene from 'Tenet', the most-attended movie screening in Estonian in the coronavirus-blighted year of 2020. Source: Warner Bros /

Despite the pandemic and funding issues, movie production in Estonia continued at more-or-less full swing in 2020, with close to 120 movies produced domestically, the majority of them made by students, state agency Statistics Estonia reports.

Admissions, on the other hand, nearly halved between 2019 and 2020, to 1.8 million, mainly due to the pandemic and its ensuing restrictions, which saw cinemas closed during the worst of the initial wave in spring 2020, and a low international output of movies.

2019 had also been a record year, the agency says.

Nonetheless, it was an international movie, the Christopher Nolan-directed "Tenet", which proved most popular in 2020, mainly because key scenes had been filmed in Tallinn the previous summer, and every second person aged 15 and older went to the cinema at least once last year, Statistics Estonia says.

Kaire Raasik, leading analyst at Statistics Estonia said: "The most eager cinemagoers were 15–24-year-olds. 80 percent of them watched at least one movie at a cinema."

Raasik added that film production in 2020 was within the same range as in previous years, while admissions dropped by a half compared with 2019.

2019 was a record year for cinema attendances

Raasik said: "The coronavirus pandemic and shutting down of cultural facilities have hit hard both cinemas and film producers. While admissions set a record in 2019, reaching 3.7 million, cinema visits dropped by a half last year, totaling 1.8 million, which is 135 visits per 100 hundred people."

More than a half of cinemagoers were satisfied with the current selection of films in Estonia, Raasik added.

She said: "One in ten cinema-goers would like to see more films by Estonian filmmakers, but there were just as many who would prefer to see even more foreign production. A quarter of cinemagoers would like to have a larger selection of films regardless of their origin."

In terms of genre, comedies are most-preferred (60 percent of respondents), followed by documentaries (53 percent) and dramas (50 percent).

Interest in art house movies stands at the lowest (16 percent).

Differences in movie preferences can also be identified by age and gender.

Raasik said that: "Both men and women like to see comedies and documentaries, but women's top three also includes dramas and men's top three includes thrillers. Older people are less likely to watch comedies, thrillers, science fiction and horror films and prefer more serious genres such as dramas and documentaries."

25 full-length films were produced in Estonia in 2020, including 12 feature films, 12 documentaries and one animation.

Film production 2017-2020 Source: Statistics Estonia

The number of short films (less than 60 minutes in length) produced last year was 117, of which 47 were feature films, 50 were documentaries and 20 were animations

368 films were screened in Estonia I n2020, of which 34 were produced in Estonia and 334 were foreign-produced.

"Tenet" was the most-attended movie, at 160,927 receipts.

Estonian movie "Talve" ranked second, with 151,137 admissions, with animation "Sipsik" in third place with 107,496 viewers.

Compared with the previous year, there were 60 fewer films screened in cinemas in 2020.

Average ticket prices were up slightly on year, Statistics Estonia reports. Last year, a ticket cost on average €6 euros, compared with €5.9 in 2019.

Cinema admissions 2000-2020 Source: Statistics Estonia

More detailed information is here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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