Cinemas in Britain and Northern Ireland took a record £1.1bn at the box-office in 2012, an increase of 5.9% over 2011. This figure is substantially higher than had been expected only a few days ago, and will come as a welcome surprise to the industry.
Analysts tend to rely on statistics for the distribution territory of which the United Kingdom is only a part. Figures for this area emerging last week suggested that receipts across it had risen by around 4%. However, it now seems that this number was dragged down by a poor year in the crisis-hit Republic of Ireland. The true figure for the UK turns out to be substantially up on last year, even when adjusted for inflation, and marks the sixth successive annual increase in box-office revenues.
This is a remarkable and unexpected achievement.