UK cinemas continue to show every sign of resisting the financial downturn, with admissions for the first quarter of 2009 some 7.5 per cent higher than for the same period in 2008.

UK operators sold 41.4 million tickets in the three months from January-March as audiences flocked to the cinema to watch the wide range of high quality movies on offer, in particular the multi award-winning UK film Slumdog Millionaire.

3D films continued to provide a strong draw with Bolt in particular contributing to the best half-term admissions figures since February 2003.

With a strong slate of Summer films anticipated, cinema attendance shows no sign of declining in the foreseeable future. Indeed the increased attendance in the first quarter of 2009 adds weight to the view that during times of economic turbulence, the public seeks out the affordable escapist entertainment provided by the big screen.

Commenting on these latest figures, CEA Chief Executive Phil Clapp said:

“Certainly there is no sign that the public’s ongoing enthusiasm for cinema shows any sign of abating.  While nothing is taken for granted, with a strong slate in prospect over the coming months, it seems increasingly likely that this will be another strong year for UK operators.”