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European Audiovisual Observatory report for fiction films







  • The median average budget of a European theatrical fiction film released / scheduled to be released in 2020 was EUR 2.06 million.

  • The largest financing source was clearly direct public funding which contributed 26% of the total financing volume, followed by producer investments and broadcaster investments, both of which accounted for 18% of total financing.

  • The percentage share of direct public funding in film financing decreases with increasing market size and budget volume.

tThis annual report aims at providing concrete figures on how European theatrical fiction films are being financed, offering a big-picture, pan-European perspective, and complementing work done at national levels. Based on the actual budget analysis of 482 European live-action fiction films released / scheduled for in 2020, this is probably the largest pan-European data sample available to date on the financing of European fiction films for this year. The report provides unique fact-based insights on a wide variety of research questions, from the quantification of the average budget of theatrical European fiction films, to the importance of individual financing sources. While the number of sample films dropped significantly in 2020, namely from 651 films released in 2019 to 482 films released in 2020, clearly reflecting the decrease in releases due to cinema closures in 2020, no significant changes in the financing structure of films could be observed. This is most likely due to the fact that films released in 2020 had been financed before the pandemic hit. Potential impacts on financing assumedly only become visible in data sets on films released in 2021 to 2023.


Our data sample studied suggests that the mean budget of a European theatrical fiction film released in 2020 represented EUR 3.02 million while the median sample budget amounted to EUR 2.06 million. However, average budgets differ widely among countries. Not surprisingly, average budgets are higher in larger markets and lower in countries with lower box-office potential, as exploitation in national markets remains key for most films. The median budget of a European fiction film originating in France, Germany, Italy, Poland or the UK (the large markets included in the sample) amounted to EUR 2.7 million in 2020 compared to EUR 1.8 million for fiction films produced in a medium-sized European market and EUR 1.1 million for fiction films from small markets.


Financing structures for theatrical fiction films in Europe Categories and importance of film financing sources in Europe [2020]


Source: European Audiovisual Observatory

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