NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Who Wants To See A Subsidized Movie, Anyway?

November 30, 1998

Europeans are reportedly flocking to Hollywood movies, shunning like the plague movies produced on their own continent. Interestingly, while Hollywood movies aren't subsidized by the government, the great majority of those made in Europe are.

  • Hollywood now earns roughly half its revenues from overseas.
  • It holds 78 percent of the European cinema market, and produced 88 of the 100 highest grossing movies in the world last year.
  • By contrast, Europe's state-subsidized film industry holds only 5 percent of the U.S. market.
  • Currently, only one in five European movies is profitable.

A recent European Union study suggested that the European film industry adopt a private funding mechanism similar to the securitized-loan schemes used so successfully by some U.S. cinema giants.

But it called for an appropriation of $30 million from the EU budget to leverage another $554 million from banks to help kick- start the initiative.

Perhaps if European film-makers were forced to make a profit, they would begin producing pictures people want to see. That, say economists, is the real secret.

Source: Editorial, "Can Europe Go Hollywood?" Wall Street Journal, November 30, 1998.


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