Box office revenues were strong in 2017, with ticket sales breaking all records since 1978. Cinemas are investing heavily in audience experience, in new technology, and in experimenting with new business models.

What’s new?

Box office revenues in the Netherlands grew from €288 to €302m in 2017 (4.8% y-o-y). On average, 2.1 tickets were sold per capita, breaking all records since 1987. Growth has been driven primarily by a number of high-performing blockbusters and by investment in cinema capacity, quality, and technology. Two movies had 1m-plus admissions: Despicable Me 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge. The Beauty and the Beast and Fast & Furious were also popular with 800 – 850k admissions. Although Dutch-titled movies still lag behind international releases with 4.3m admissions, a number of Dutch films – including Soof 2, Onze Jongens and Dikkertje Dap – performed well and were popular with cinema audiences (250 – 355k admissions).

Thirteen new cinemas opened in the Netherlands in 2017, expanding audience capacity by 2,800 seats. Besides boosting capacity, cinema chains are also investing in audience experience. Pathé, for example, showed the latest Star Wars movie on its screens in Amsterdam and Rotterdam with 4DX technology, which augments the visual presentation with effects like weather simulations, scents, seat motion, and air movements. 4DX is now also being applied in cinema advertisements, such as the summer 2018 Axe commercial. Kinepolis has installed dozens of speakers and applied Dolby Atmos technology in ceilings and walls to improve the sound in Breda, Dordrecht, and Utrecht. Euroscoop has introduced Barco Escape technology in Tilburg by installing two additional screens at a 140o angle on either side of the main panorama screen.

We have noted an interesting cross-media development: a popular YouTube artist, Dylan Haegens (1.3m followers), became the first Dutch YouTube vlogger to launch his own cinema release. We have also noted a trend towards screening live events in cinemas, such as Wie is de Mol, the Oscars award ceremony, and André Rieu’s live concert in Maastricht, but also live theatre, including a ballet performance at the Royal Opera House in London and the season première of the GTST series.

Cinema (€ millions)
Netherlands Historical data Forecast data CAGR %
  2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 18-22
Box office 250 250 276 288 302 278 307 312 317 321 2.9%
y-o-y growth   0.2% 10.3% 4.3% 4.9% -7.9% 10.3% 1.9% 1.4% 1.4%  
Advertising 6 6 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 5.0%
y-o-y growth   4.5% 4.6% 7.4% 5.3% 6.0% 6.8% 6.5% 6.1% 5.5%  
Total 255 256 282 294 309 285 314 321 326 330 3.0%
y-o-y growth   0.3% 10.2% 4.4% 4.9% -7.6% 10.2% 2.0% 1.5% 1.5%  

Source: PwC, Ovum, Rab. Note: Because we rounded off amounts and percentages throughout this Outlook, tables may not sum to 100%.


CAGR 2017-2021 had been forecast at 0.8%, this has increased to 1.3% for 2018-2022, with box office revenue growing from €278m in 2018 to €321m by 2022. We expect that cinemas continue to invest in technology and in improving their business model.

Although online video-on-demand services such as Netflix, Videoland, NPO Start Plus, and NLZiet have gained a firm foothold in recent years, cinema visits in the Netherlands are expected to grow. Not only are cinemas trying to use their out-of-home brand name (such as Pathé Thuis) to develop new revenue streams, but they are also investing more heavily in providing premium audience experience as an alternative to VOD services.

The VR Cinema in Amsterdam closed its doors after 2.5 years and will instead now organise pop-up VR cinemas at various locations in the Netherlands. In addition, investment in VR technology will further improve movie-goers’ experience, however. Pathé is experimenting with VR and has a pop-up VR cinema in Utrecht with rotating chairs which offering a 360o view.

Contact us

Casper Scheffer

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)88 792 65 20

Guido van Aardenne

Director, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)88 792 65 10

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