The Maltese cinema industry generated total box office receipts of €4.5 million in 2023, a 32 per cent increase over the previous year’s showing helped in part by Barbie’s domination of the cultural zeitgeist upon its much-anticipated release.

That movie alone attracted over 52,000 admissions – 8.8 per cent of all cinema admissions during the year.

Speaking three weeks after its Maltese release, Eden Leisure Group CEO Simon De Cesare said the film was still attracting viewers in their hundreds, with full shows on most days.

He reported that many viewers are coming back to see it a second time, with the film being a thought-provoking and at times controversial experience, not just an entertaining one – not to mention that it presented “an excuse to dress up in pink and take photos.”

Mr De Cesare described seeing the “whole area buzzing with excitement” as “amazing”, noting that Barbie lends itself to a “great audience experience before, during and after the film”.

The second- and third-placed The Little Mermaid (28,017 admissions) and The Super Mario Bros. Movie (28,001 admissions) were followed by Oppenheimer (27,577), with viewership much more in line to that registered by films screened in 2022.

Throughout 2023, cinemas in Malta and Gozo projected 385 different film titles and registered a total of 594,087 admissions.

Both the box office total (€4.5 million) and the number of admissions (594,087) represent an improvement in the local cinema industry’s fortunes.

In 2022, it generated €3.4 million from 460,000 admissions.

Last year’s performance is the local cinema industry’s best since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but remains well below the €4.96 million generated on 735,000 admissions in 2019.

In 2023, Maltese productions, many of which belonged to the short films rather than the feature films category, had 4,884 admissions with a total gross box office of €20,457 in 143 screenings.

On the other hand, foreign productions, which besides the traditional feature films also included event cinema, had 589,203 admissions with a total gross box office of €4,488,290 in 30,599 screenings.

RankTitleCountryAdmissions
1BarbieUSA52,488
2The Little MermaidUSA28,017
3The Super Mario Bros. MovieUSA28001
4OppenheimerUSA27,577
5Avatar: The Way of WaterUSA25,660
6WonkaUSA20,814
7Spider-Man: Across the Spider-VerseUSA15,638
8Fast XUSA15,018
9NapoleanUSA13,849
10ElementalUSA13,519

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