VILNIUS - Lithuania's movie theaters have posted 36.06 million litas (10.5 million euros) in box-office revenues for January through November this year, up 14.5 percent from 31.5 million litas a year ago, the country's Cinema Distribution Association has reported.
The number of movie-goers increased by 2.8 percent over the first three quarters of the year to 2.98 million visitors, the association said.
Arpad Abanyi, general manager of Cinamon Cinema chain, told The Baltic Times that there is higher revenue across the board because there are more cinemas in Lithuania.
"The simple reason is that there are now more cinemas in Lithuania. There are now four more in Kaunas for example, and cinemas in Lithuania are expanding their audience base," Abyani said.
Dainius Berzinis, media representative of Forum Cinemas, thinks other forces control revenue 's he said that more revenue was the result of more popular movies.
"This year people had a lot of money and didn't know how to spend their time, so they went to the movies," he said.
Abanyi said that last year was a great year for blockbusters and that this year was "comfortable."
"Last summer there was a whole string of great movies from Spiderman to Borat, so that was good," he said.
Berzinis explained that family films were the most profitable because cinema visitors brought their families along.
"Family movies bring more people. Recently, Madagascar was the first family movie in three months and it was very popular. Of course other movies like [James] Bond was also very popular," he said.
The animated movie Kung Fu Panda was the strongest performer in the 11-month period, drawing 108,500 viewers to movie theaters and earning 1.2 million litas at the box-office.
Annual movie ticket sales in Lithuania surged 40.8 percent last year to 35.635 million litas.
Berzinis said he does not expect the trend to continue though because of the financial crisis.
An increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) on tickets will mean an increase in prices for visitors. Currently the VAT on cinema tickets sits at a reduced rate of 5 percent, but under the new government's crisis plan, this would be raised to 20 percent.
"Theoretically this [trend] means that we will get more visitors, but people will have less money," he said.
Abanyi suggested that the recession could work in the favor of cinema.
"If you look at recessions in the past, cinema has been a counter-cyclical business. It isn't hit like other businesses like manufacturing. When compared to concert or sports tickets, it is less expensive and is the preferable choice," he said.
Ticket prices currently vary in Lithuania from six to 16 litas.
Forum Cinemas have two branches in Vilnius, one in Kaunas and one in Panevezys.
Cinamon has one theater in Kaunas and one in Klaipeda.