According to data provided by Statistics Estonia, in 2021, the number of cinema visits in Estonia fell to 1.39 million, the lowest figure for 16 years. The number of different films shown on Estonian cinema screens during the year was 299, which is 69 fewer than in 2020.
Erik Lest, analyst at Statistics Estonia, said that last year's cinema attendance was the lowest in the past 16 years, with the figures similar to those from 2005 and 2006.
"While the number of visits to cinemas in 2019 was nearly 3.7 million, last year it was close to 1.4 million, which means that compared with the pre-pandemic period, the number of visits has dropped by 2.3 million, or 2.7 times," said Lest.
By far the most popular film in cinemas during 2021 was the latest James Bond movie "No Time to Die," which attracted 98,095 views and grossed over €600 million. Hot on Bond's heels were "Fast & Furious 9," and sci-fi epic "Dune," based on the novel by Frank Herbert, with 56,555 and 53,545 admissions respectively.
The most popular Estonian film of 2021 in cinemas was "Estonian Funeral," (Eesti matus), based on the play of the same name by Andrus Kivirähk, which was seen by 43,083 cinemagoers.
According to Lest, various factors contributed to falling cinema attendances, including social isolation, cautiousness, and fewer opportunities to participate in cultural activities, all of which appear to have led Estonians to seek out alternative forms of entertainment.
"The use of streaming platforms such as Netflix, Elisa Hub, Jupiter or Viaplay, which gained popularity during the pandemic, seems to have had an impact on cinema attendance, and people are increasingly attracted by pay packages or free series and films offered by TV broadcasters," said Lest.
In 2021, 25 full-length films were produced in Estonia, 14 of which were feature films and the remaining 11, documentaries. 103 short films were also produced in Estonia, 46 were documentaries, 45 feature films, and 12 animations.
The number of films imported into Estonia for display also dropped in 2021 to 178. This was 14 percent lower than in 2020 and 37 percent less than in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic. 94 of the films imported in 2021 came from European countries, 75 from the United States, and 9 from elsewhere.
In addition to feature films, animations, and documentaries, Estonian enterprises produced 1,420 corporate films in 2021, including 793 for advertising, 324 promotional films, and 245 educational films. 58 music videos were also made in Estonia in 2021.
More information can be found on the Statistics Estonia website here.
Editor: Michael Cole