Page last updated at 14:35 GMT, Wednesday, 21 April 2010 15:35 UK

UK cinemas not daunted by World Cup challenge


A new trailer shows 40 of the films heading for UK cinemas this summer

By Tim Masters
Entertainment correspondent, BBC News

UK cinemas are confident that summer box office takings will survive competition from the World Cup in 2010.

The Film Distributors' Association (FDA) has launched a trailer that showcases 40 of the 150 films being released this summer.

"A lot more people love the movies than love football," said FDA chief executive Mark Batey.

The FDA said box office takings in the first quarter of this year were 16% higher than in the same period in 2009.

Robin Hood still
Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe, is part of the summer blockbuster season

Asked about the challenge cinemas face from a summer of sport, Mr Batey acknowledged the World Cup was "a big draw".

"Every couple of summers you have a World Cup or a European football championship," he added.

"It is absolutely a consideration when dating and releasing films. We really hope that audiences will really come back to cinemas just as soon as the World Cup is finished.

"I think there's plenty on a local cinemas to attract people who just want something else for their evening's entertainment."

3D effect

Johnny Depp plays the Mad Hatter from Carroll's story
Johnny Depp plays the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland

The summer films trailer, unveiled on Wednesday, will be shown in cinemas across the UK. It features prospective blockbusters such as Iron Man 2, Knight and Day, Robin Hood, Shrek Forever After and The A-Team.

Sex and the City 2, the sequel to the 2008 film, is being launched two weeks before the World Cup kicks off on 11 June.

The FDA, which represents most of Britain's film distributors, said that cinema had proved "recession-resistant" in 2009, as UK admissions reached 173.5 million - a seven-year high.

Commenting on the rise in first quarter figures for 2010, Mr Batey said: "There have been some films over this period that have really caught the public imagination - Avatar continued to do sensational business through January and February even though it opened in December."

Alice in Wonderland - which like Avatar was released in 3D - has been the most popular new release of 2010 to date.

In its first six weeks of release it was seen by 1 in 10 of the UK population, according to the FDA.

3D films had a big impact over Easter, with four million people going to the cinema over the four-day Easter Bank Holiday weekend (2-5 April).

The top films were Clash of the Titans and How to Train Your Dragon, both released in 3D.

Robert Downey Jnr and Iron Man
Iron Man 2 - starring Robert Downey Jr - will now premiere in LA

"We think the trend will continue this year," said Mr Batey. "In the summer months, there are eight films due to be released in 3D including Toy Story 3 and Shrek Forever After."

Volcano impact

Mr Batey said he didn't think the relocation of the Iron Man 2 world premiere from London to Los Angeles - due to the volcanic ash chaos - would affect its box office.

"It is a shame that Iron Man has had to relocate but I think the film is going to do stupendous business anyway. I'm sure that won't be dented by the premiere moving to the States."

And he said he was confident that the James Bond franchise would return - despite its recent "indefinite" suspension.

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