Latest figures suggest that UK cinema has begun 2009 in the same strong vein it finished 2008, with cinema admissions last month of 14,504,588 – the best January performance since 2004.

Admissions were up 7.7 per cent on the same period in 2008, with cinema spend increasing by 5.3 per cent year on year to £9.5m.

The publicity surrounding British awards contenders like Slumdog Millionaire and The Reader helped drive admissions, with Danny Boyle’s award-winning drama alone taking £16.9m to date. And 3D proved its pulling power with horror flick My Bloody Valentine taking £5.7m to date – a record-breaking opening weekend for a 3D film.

The impressive January figures build on a strong 2008 performance by cinema, where admissions were up by 1.1 per cent on the previous year to 164.2m.

Commenting on the figures, CEA Chief Executive Phil Clapp said:

“The outstanding figures for January show that UK cinema admissions remain strong, driven by value for money and strong and varied film content. They give the industry an excellent foundation on which to build in the year ahead.”