2015 proved to be a record year for cinema. With Digital Cinema Media reporting revenues up 27% YoY, and admissions rising around 9%, what was perhaps once considered a less prioritised media channel, is now becoming a regular on many planners’ schedules.

When cinema advertising was an analogue format, lead times of four weeks and excessive production costs meant a lot of advertisers couldn’t afford to access the channel. But with 2012’s investment and transformation of cinemas in the UK to an HD Digital proposition, entry barriers have been torn down. The number of advertisers now utilising cinema has risen 132 % (Nielson, AdDynamix 2016, 2011: 244 advertisers vs 2015: 566 advertisers) as advertisers scramble to be part of the buzz, especially around blockbusters like Bond and Star Wars.

That confidence in the strength of cinema as an entertainment and advertising proposition is further bolstered with the investment in 4DX cinemas. Motion seats and effects simulating wind, fog, lightning, water, rain and smell are further expanding the opportunity for advertisers to deliver more engaging campaigns. The likes of Secret Cinema and one-off live theatre and concert screenings have also helped the box office boom.

2015 had one of the biggest years ever for releases with Furious 7, a Jurassic Park re-boot, Spectre and The Force Awakens to name a few. The continued force of Star Wars also carried over into January, driving revenues up 56% YoY. According to DCM’s Karen Stacey, revenues for the rest of the year will plateau with annual growth forecasted to be between 5-8% come year end.

2016 has a tough act to follow. Although we won’t see another instalment of the Star Wars saga this year, its spin off franchise ‘Rogue One’ will draw a lot of fans eager to get another taste of the force. Expect it to be the one to beat this year. The 2016 family slate follows two of the biggest animated movies of all time in 2015 (Minions and Inside Out), but with the releases of Kung Fu Panda 3, Ice Age, Jungle Book, The Secret Life of Pets and Alice Through The Looking Glass, this year looks to be even bigger.

That strength of slate is backed by Sky, which has shelled out an estimated £3million to buy the family Gold Spot at UK cinemas. This deal will give Sky the final advertising slot before the screening of every film with a family audience.

The year in film will also be bolstered by our trusty superheroes; Deadpool, Batman vs Superman, Suicide Squad, Captain America and X-Men all making appearances. With a slate this packed, it’s clear there’s no shortage of movies to keep admissions up and deliver another blockbuster year for cinema.