Spider-Man helps to spin a good year for cinema ticket sales

Story by Jack Foley

PETER Parker, James Bond, Harry Potter and Frodo Baggins have all helped to ensure that 2002 was a very good year at the UK Box Office, with early figures showing a 10% rise in ticket sales on 2001, according to Screen Daily.

The cinema admissions boost comes just months after the UK Film Industry also announced an upturn in overseas investment and proves that the UK is slowly beginning to emerge from the low of 2001, caused by the foot-and-mouth crisis and September 11.

It also bucks the European trend, as France, Italy and Germany have all seen a decline in ticket sales over the past 12 months.

Sales in the UK, however, have rocketed from 156 million in 2001 to 176 million last year - 20 million more that last year, and two million more than industry experts had predicted following a promising start to the year.

The large number of Hollwyood blockbusters is viewed by many as the reason for the success, with the likes of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Minority Report and Ocean's Eleven also helping to set the cash registers ringing, as well as the year's highest-grossers, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Spider-Man.

In fact, Spider-Man helped cinemas record the highest figures for June since 1972, despite the World Cup taking place at the same time.

The total gross sales for UK of $1.2bn (£750m) make it the largest market, with Germany second at $977m (£611m).

RELATED STORIES: Foreign film investment soars in 2002. Click here for story...
Click here for details of the collapse of Film Four...
Click here for Lord Puttnam's views on the UK film industry...