“A European children’s film sells 5 times more cinema tickets on average in Europe than non-children fiction fare.”

The European Audiovisual Observatory has just published a brand new report on The theatrical circulation of European children’s films. The Observatory’s cinema analyst, Martin Kanzler, presented this new report at the KIDS Regio Forum which took place in Erfurt, Germany, on the 20th of June. The objective of this study is to analyse the theatrical circulation and performance of European fiction, i.e. live action and animation films for children up to 12 years of age compared to non-children fiction films based on a sample analysis of 648 children’s films and over 8 700 non-children fiction films which covers the period from 2004-2013.

Key findings of the sample analysis:

About 70 children’s films per year take 11% share of the European films’ admissions cake
A total of 648 European children’s fiction films could be identified which were produced and released between 2004 and 2013. Broken down by production year, this means that an average of about 70 theatrical feature fiction films - 40 live action and 30 animation films – were produced every year in the 40 European markets covered by the European Audiovisual Observatory in this ten year time frame.

On a cumulative basis these children’s films generated an estimated total of 373 million admissions in Europe between 2004 and 2013. This represents around 11% of all admissions to European films. In other words, at least one out of ten tickets sold to a European film, was sold to a children’s film.

European children’s films outperform more grown-up content
As a control group a total of over 8 700 non-children’s fiction films were analysed. With estimated median admissions of 142 000, European children’s films outperformed non-children’s fiction films (with an average 29 000 entries per film) by a factor of almost 5.

Crossing borders – European children’s films circulate better than their grown-up counterparts
Children’s films travel comparatively well in Europe. Almost 71% of all European children’s films produced in the sample period achieved distribution in at least one non-national market. This compares with an “export rate” of only 49% for European non-children’s films. Furthermore, children’s films were released on an average of 3.4 non-national markets, compared to 2.2 for other European fiction films.

Children’s animation films travel significantly better than live action films
While children’s animation films were released in 4.6 non-national European territories on average, live action films only achieved export to an average of 2.6 non-national markets. On a cumulative basis children’s animation films generated half of their total admissions on non-national markets, compared to 29% in the case of live action children’s films. The data hence clearly illustrate that European children’s animation films travel comparatively well, while live action films primarily depend on their domestic markets as they struggle more to circulate abroad.

The report includes a comprehensive title-by-title admissions list for all 648 European children’s films identified in the period 2004-2013. It is now available for purchase on line here with free press copies available to journalists on request.

Link to film of Martin Kanzler's presentation of this report at the Cine Regio event in Erfurt.

Methodological note on this report:
One of the main challenges in analysing the theatrical circulation of children’s films is the question as to how to classify film as a children’s film as there is no universally accepted and consistent definition of a ‘children’s film’ which could be applied across Europe. The definition of “children’s film” used in the context of this report refers to feature length fiction films targeting – to a substantial degree - children up to 12 years. As a general rule, the films included have received an age recommendation no higher than 12 years from the German FSK (Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle der Filmwirtschaft GmbH). However, not all films in the sample have received an FSK rating and some may have received a local rating higher than 12 years in other countries.

It is important to note, that though the sample aims for extensive coverage of the children’s films produced in Europe between 2004 and 2013, the comprehensiveness of the data cannot be guaranteed. Given the challenges in defining, identifying and classifiying ‘children’s films’, this analysis has to be interpreted as a sample analysis and does hence not quantify the total market volume of children’s films in Europe. The sample is however considered to be sufficiently extensive to correctly illustrate ‘average’ characteristics of European children´s animation and live action children´s films in comparison to European non-children fiction films as well as to point to broader differences in the role of children´s films for individual countries.

For more information about this report or a free press copy for journalists, contact:
Alison Hindhaugh ( - Tel: + 33 (0)3 90 21 60 10