By Diego Batlle
Cinema attendance figures in Argentina dropped by an estimated 1.6% in 2006.
The period saw 35.4 million admissions as opposed to 36 million in 2005.
However, total box office gross was 20% up from last year because of continued rise in the average ticket price from $ 2.3 to 3.1.
Hollywood blockbusters took a 79.3% share of the market (79.8% in 2004), local productions logged 11.3% (from last year's 12.5%), while European, Asian and other Latin American films recorded a 9.4% (7.7% a year ago).
The fall in attendances particularly affected Argentinian films. The 74 titles (co-productions included) released during 2006 saw sales drop to 4 million from 4.5 million in 2005.
Only six American and two Argentinian films have attracted over one million viewers, a list led by Ice Age: The Meltdown with 2.540.000 admissions.
Woody Allen's Match Point (460.000 tickets sold) and Pedro Almodovar's Volver (330.000 admissions) were the most successful European productions of the year.
Top 10 films in 2006 (admissions)
1- Ice Age: The Meltdown 2.5m
2- Chronicles of Narnia 2.1m
3- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest 1.62m
4- The Da Vinci Code 1.6m
5- Cars 1.25m
6- Bathers 3: Superpowers (Arg) 1.16m
7- Little Tooth Mouth (Arg) 1.02m
8-Over the Hedge 1.01m
9- X-Men: The Last Stand 0.79m
10- Superman Returns 0.55m
1- Bathers 3: Superpowers 1.16m
2- Little Tooth Mouth 1.02m
3- Patoruzito 2 0.35m
4- The Hands 0.25m
5- Chronicle of an Escape 0.21m
6- Family Law 0.2m
7- The Method 0.14m
8- Air Force Inc. 0.12m
9- El Custodio 0.06m
10- Cheese Face 0.05m
By Sandy George
Australia's gross box office was $675.5m (A$866.609m) last year, a rise of 6% over 2005 and the second-highest year on record according to the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (MPDAA).
The best year to date for earnings was 2004 when $707.2m (A$907.2) was spent on cinema tickets. This figure plunged by about $90m in the following year.
Because of ticket-price fluctuations, the best year on record for admissions is 2001, however, when 92,500m tickets were sold. The MPDAA will calculate the number of admissions in 2006 within the next few days.
'One of the most pleasing aspects of the 2006 results is the broad range of films that have recorded strong results,' said MPDAA chair Mike Selwyn of the results.
'Whilst blockbuster releases such as Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, The Da Vinci Code and Casino Royale, and family films such as Ice Age 2, Cars and Over The Hedge could have been expected to do well, it is worth noting the success of films such as The Devil Wears Prada, Borat and Brokeback Mountain with their appeal to very different audiences.'
Another pleasing result, Selwyn added, was the success of Australian films commercially and critically. He said distributors were looking forward to 2007 being a strong year for local films.
As previously reported, the 22 Australian features and seven documentaries released in 2006 took about $35m (A$40m) of the total, or about 4.5%. This is higher than the three previous years. Australia 's best percentage ever was 23.5% in 1986.
As usual the MPDAA picked copyright theft as the biggest challenge ahead, but the year is off to a good start because the first week of January showed the second highest weekly box office figure ever.
The biggest performers earned over $15.6m (A$20m) each and they were Pirates of the Caribbean : Dead Man's Chest, The Da Vinci Code, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, Casino Royale and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe.
Gross box office has risen on the previous year, for the 24th time in the last 30 years.
By Martin Blaney
Austrian cinemas are set to post an increase of 10-11% in admissions and gross box office for 2006, according to Kurt Kaufmann of the exhibitors association FLA.
While the industry was unlikely to repeat the 'miracle year of 2004' when 19.38m tickets were sold, there were hopes that this year could see total admissions approach those of 2003 (17.71m).
This would be in stark contrast to the situation 12 months ago when admissions had plummeted year-on-year by 19% to 15.72m.
The cinemas had benefited this year from a 'wide range of good films' and from the fact that the inclement weather during the summer months had sent people into the cinemas.
Top releases included Ice Age 2, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, The Da Vinci Code, and Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer, while the latest James Bond film Casino Royale has already taken over $4.2m (Euros 3.2m) in its first two weeks of release.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
By Vladan Petkovic
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a particularly ungrateful market for analysis. Since the end of the war in 1996, Serbian and Croatian distributors who have contracts with Hollywood majors distributed their releases in Bosnia and Herzegovina through their subsidiaries in parts of the territory where their nations are the majority and have the economic and political dominance.
The box office for Republika Srpska (the Serbian entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina) was included in the Serbian charts, and the results of Croatian distributors in Croatian majority-populated areas went into Croatian charts.
Until this summer there had been no box office reports compiled exclusively for Bosnia and Herzegovina. But now, after almost 10 years, the distribution and exhibition sectors are better established and more clearly defined.
The Croatian and Serbian distributors' subsidiaries still work on previously formed basis, but in 2006 a new company, Continental, entered the market, distributing for Twentieth Century Fox and SPCR directly. It took two years for the Zenica-based distributor Tropic to reach an agreement with four other existing companies to send results and to start compiling reports.
The Serbian and Croatian reports remain unchanged thus making charts from all three territories partially inaccurate but it's still possible to draw some conclusions.
Like Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnian-Herzegovinian audiences have a taste for local humour, atmosphere and actors.
This has made domestic films very popular, as well as Serbian and Croatian ones, in great part thanking to the star status of some of the actors which held on from what once was Yugoslav cinema.
Bosnia has the Sarajevo Film Festival which is by far the most important in the region and brings big names and titles to the capital every August, with competition restricted to films from wider region (former Yugoslavia plus Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Albania and Turkey) and CineLink, regional co-production market conceived in cooperation with Rotterdam's CinemArt.
However, Bosnia-Herzegovina has problems similar to those of Serbia and Montenegro - a high level of piracy, poor state of most of the theatres and a lack of multiplexes (there is only one five-screen miniplex in Belgrade, in Bosnia there are none), which cause poor attendance: weekend average is about 6,000 admissions; key city Sarajevo with about 500,000 citizens has only six active screens.
However, all this did not stop the Berlin winner Jasmila Zbanic's Grbavica selling more tickets in Bosnia and Herzegovina than any other release, local or international, in all territories of former Yugoslavia in 2006.
The distributor's efforts to beat the pirates with early theatrical release and urging of law enforcements resulted in illegal DVD's appearing on streets of the biggest cities seven days after the premiere instead of a few weeks before which is the case with practically all Hollywood titles.
Despite the one-week 'window', audiences kept going to cinemas to see the tragic story of mother and daughter dealing with some of the most terrible consequences of war in Bosnia to which a big part of the population can relate, buying a total of 179,483 tickets and bringing in about $395,000 (BAM592,500).
The second best grosser of the year is this year's regional phenomenon, Rajko Grlic's Border Post (Karaula), the first co-production of all former Yugoslav territories, with the most popular Bosnian actor Emir Hadzihafesbegovic in the main role, which sold about 90,000 tickets, earning about $225,000 (BAM337,500). By comparison, the best ranked Hollywood picture The Da Vinci Code sold 29,896 tickets, grossing about $75,000 (BAM112,500).
As mentioned above, until this summer there were no Bosnian-Herzegovinian box office reports and it seems unlikely that an annual chart for 2006 would be compiled, but the figures for Grbavica and Border Post suggest definite increases in comparison with past years.
By Elaine Guerini
According to figures released by Filme B (a local film company that reviews theatrical market numbers), despite falling viewing trends box office sales were up 3.2%, reaching R$694.9m ($324.6m) as a result of an increase in ticket prices (up 7% from the previous year).
Brazil's cinema attendance dropped an estimated 3% in 2006, with 90.2m tickets sold, according to figures released by Filme B (a local film company that reviews theatrical market numbers). Box office sales, however, were up 3.2%, reaching R$694.9m ($324.6m), as a result of an increase in ticket prices (up 7% from the previous year).
Brazilian films were seen by 9.9 million people, representing an 11% market share - the same share as 2005 despite the fact that the viewing of domestic productions dipped by 8%.
However, Fox's If I Were You, with major local soap stars playing the lead roles, sold 3.6m tickets, grossing R$28.9m ($13.5m) and taking the third spot at the 2006 general box office.
Even though the country's total attendance increased by 6% in the first semester of 2006, thanks to the blockbuster Ice Age: The Meltdown and If I Were You, the lack of high-grossing titles dragged the market down after July.
The fall in attendance in the country can also be attributed to the increase in tickets price that reached R$ 7.70 ($3.60) in 2006.
Brazilian moviegoers are very price sensitive, which severely affected local films. When admissions are low, cinemas tend to drop Brazilian productions, which get substantially less promotion than Hollywood titles.
Other factors that explain why admissions are down include the rise in DVD sales and piracy.
TOP 10 FILMS IN BRAZIL 2006
1) Ice Age: The Meltdown (Fox), 5.8m admissions
2) Da Vinci Code (Sony), 4.6m admissions
3) If I Were You (Fox), 3.6m admissions
4) X-Men - The Last Stand (Fox), 3.2m admissions
5) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (Buena Vista), 3.1m admissions
6) Cars (Buena Vista), 2.8m admissions
7) The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe (Buena Vista), 2.7 admissions
8) Superman Returns (Warner), 2.5m admissions
9) Over the Hedge (UIP), 2.276m admissions
10) Click (Sony), 2.271m admissions
[Source: Filme B]
By Sen-lun Yu
China's box office continued to grow in 2006 with combined grosses reaching $335.5m (RMB2.62bn), an increase of 30% on takings of $256m (RMB2bn) in 2005, according to figures released by the Film Bureau under the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT).
The Film Bureau also announced that China's annual production volume rose to 330 films in 2006 compared to 260 the previous year, an increase of 26%.
Chinese productions had a market share of 55.03%, according to the government statistics, a very slight decrease from their 2005 market share of 55.1%.
Zhang Yimou's Curse Of The Golden Flower, which is still on release, was the highest-grossing film in 2006, taking $32m (RMB250m) by its third week. Feng Xiaogang's The Banquet, also a period drama, came in second with a box office gross of $16.6m (RMB130m).
Five locally-produced and five Hollywood films made it into the top 10. Sony's The Da Vinci Code and UIP's King Kong took the third and fourth places in the 2006 chart, with takings of $13.4m (RMB105m) and $13.06m (RMB102m) respectively.
Although Chinese films accounted for more than half the box office, and production volume has increased, only 30% of the 330 films produced in 2006 actually managed to secure a theatrical release. The ratio is lower than in 2005 when 34% of the 260 films produced were released in theatres.
The top 10 local films take up more than 56% of the combined box office for local productions, leaving around 200 mid-budget films struggling to enter or survive in cinemas.
Film Bureau deputy director Zhang Pimin said the bureau was aware of the difficulties faced by small-to-mid budget local films and is planning to set up arthouse cinemas in China.
The US Studios in China
The US studios had a relatively good year in China in 2006, during which the 20 revenue-sharing films released in the country grossed $108.75m (RMB850m), an increase of 41% on the previous year.
China 's total box office was $335.5m (RMB2.62bn) last year, which gives the 20 titles a 32% market share. In comparison, the 20 revenue-sharing films released in 2005 grossed $76.76m (RMB600m) and accounted for 30% of the market.
Two titles broke through the RMB100m ($12.79m) threshold which contributed to the 41% growth. Sony's The Da Vinci Code raked in $13.43m (RMB105m) to become the top-grossing foreign film in China in 2006, while UIP's King Kong came in second with $13.18m (RMB103m). In comparison, the top-grossing foreign film in 2005 - Warner Bros' Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire - grossed $12m (RMB93.9m).
The Da Vinci Code is so far the second highest-grossing foreign film in Chinese box office history, following Titanic which grossed $40.94m (RMB320m) in 1998. The record set by Titanic has yet to broken by any domestic or foreign film.
Among the top 10 foreign films in 2006, eight grossed more than $6.4m (RMB50m), which also contributed to growth. In 2005, only four foreign films passed this threshold.
Animation films performed well in China in 2006 with both Garfield 2 and Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, both distributed by Fox, making the top ten. Garfield 2's haul of $7.37m (RMB57.58m) made it the best-selling animation in Chinese film history.
China imports only 20 revenue-sharing foreign films each year, although further foreign titles can be imported on a flat fee basis, as long as the total number of foreign films does not exceed one third of the overall number of releases.
Traditionally, more than 90% of the revenue-sharing imported films are distributed by the US studios.
China Top 10 2006
1. Curse Of The Golden Flower - $32m (RMB250m)
2. The Banquet - $16.6m (RMB130m)
3. The Da Vinci Code - $13.4m (RMB105m)
4. King Kong - $13.06m (RMB102m)
5. Fearless - $12.9m (RMB101m)
6. Rob-B-Hood - $12.4m (RMB97m)
7. Mission: Impossible III - $10.5m (RMB82m)
8. Poseidon - $8.8m (RMB68.9m)
9. Battle Of Wits - $8.6m (RMB67m)
10. Superman Returns - $8m (RMB62.5m)
China Top 10 Local Films 2006
1. Curse Of The Golden Flower - $32m (RMB250m)
2. The Banquet - $16.6m (RMB130m)
3. Fearless - $12.9m (RMB101m)
4. Rob-B-Hood - $12.4m (RMB97m)
5. Battle Of Wits - $8.6m (RMB67m)
6. Confession Of Pain - $7.4m (RMB58m)
7. Dragon Tiger Gate - $6.6m (RMB51.3m)
8. The Knot - $4.1m (RMB32.3m)
9. Crazy Stone - $2.9m (RMB23m)
10. The Tokyo Trial - $2.6m (RMB20.3m)
Source: State Administration of Radio, Film and Television
Top 10 foreign films in China 2006
1. The Da Vinci Code - $13.43m (RMB105m)
2. King Kong - $13.06m (RMB102m)
3. Mission: Impossible III - $10.49m (RMB82m)
4. Poseidon - $8.81m (RMB68.9m)
5. Superman Returns - $8m (RMB62.5m)
6. The Chronicles Of Narnia: TLTWATW - $7.8m (RMB60.99m)
7. Garfield 2 - $7.37m (RMB57.58m)
8. Eight Below - $7.09m (RMB55.4m)
9. Ice Age 2 - $4.4m (RMB34.4m)
10. The Transporter 2 - $3.89m (RMB30.38m)
By Theodore Schwinke
With statistics in for the first 11 months of the year, Czech box-office admissions look set to surpass 11m for 2006, reversing the poor performance of 2005, when admissions dropped 21% to less than 9.5m.
From January 2006 to November 2006, Czech cinemas took in 10.38m admissions, an improvement of nearly 10% over 2005's 12-month total of 9.48m. Czech admissions in 2005 were the lowest since 2000.
Sales in the first 11 months of 2006 were at just over $92m, with current average ticket price at the end of November up nearly 3% over 2005's average. That figure may drop after a final tally, because successful discount promotions at Palace Cinemas in early December cut ticket prices more 50%.
Month by month, most of 2006 was an improvement on the previous year. Total monthly admissions surpassed 1m four times last year: in March (owing largely to Czech teen comedy Rafters) and April (Ice Age 2), May (The Da Vinci Code) and August (Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest). Admissions crossed the 1m threshold only one month in 2005 - December, thanks mainly to Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire.
The full impact of the Borat-Bond effect on the Czech holiday bounce has yet to be seen. In November admissions were at 898,986, an improvement of 8% on the previous month. Casino Royale opened the weekend of Nov 16 with 53,257 admissions and contributed roughly 13% of the month's total.
Borat opened the weekend of Nov 23 with 25,504 admissions, making up less than 5% of the month's total. By Christmas, Borat had 134,541 admissions, but by then Eragon, Deja Vu and Flushed Away had emerged atop the weekly box-office rankings.
Czech films performed well at the box office in 2006. The most-attended film of the year, foreign or domestic, according to the preliminary figures is Jiri Vejdelek's Holiday Makers. The film, a contemporary literary adaptation, saw more than 750,000 admissions, making it the most popular domestic theatrical release since Jan Hrebejk's Pupendo, which sold roughly 1m tickets in 2003. Two other Czech releases, Rafters and How To Ride Crocodiles, also bested the most-attended Czech film of 2005, From The Subway With Love, which saw nearly 600,000 admissions.
Perhaps surprisingly, Hrebejk's Beauty In Trouble, which won the Krzysztof Kieslowski Award in Denver and a Special Jury Prize at Karlovy Vary, did not fare particularly well at the local box-office, drawing only about 300,000 admissions. Although the film featured such well-liked stars as Ana Geislerova (Something Like Happiness) and Jiri Machachek (Up And Down), its awards aspirations and favourable reviews failed to impress local audiences.
By Jacob Wendt-Jensen
Danish market share dropped 6% year-on-year in 2006, with 800,000 less ticket sales for local films than in 2005.
While a 26% share may seem a disappointing result, it comes after a boom year for Danish admissions in 2005.
In 2005, market share reached an all-time high of 32%, with 3.9m tickets sold for local films out of a total 12.2m attendance.
This year's figures represent a drop in local movie sales from one in three to one in four ticket sales. However, a 26% market share is equivalent to the average sell of Danish tickets since 1999.
Five local films appear in Denmark's top 20 films for 2006.
The average for the last nine years has been six films plus.
Prospects are good for next year, with more than 30 Danish features scheduled for release, including several sequels to popular family features, a comedy by Lone Scherfig, who made megahit Italian For Beginners, films by Ole Bornedal and Paprika Steen, and Nikolaj Arcels' Spielberg-inspired family fantasy Island of Lost Souls.
TOP 10 FILMS DENMARK 2006
1. Casino Royale (Nordisk), 60.5m
2. Da Vinci Code (Nordisk), 55.9m
3. Pirates Of The Carribbean: Dead Man's Chest (UIP/BVI), 51.1m
4. Ice Age: The Meltdown (FC/Fox), 38.1m
5. After The Wedding (Nordisk, Denmark) 25.9m
6. We Shall Overcome (Nordisk, Denmark) 22.4m
7. Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (UIP/BVI), 21.2m
8. Little Chicken (UIP), 17.7m
9. Cars (UIP/BVI), 16.6m
10. Clash Of Egos (Nordisk, Denmark), 14.7m
By Antonia Carver
Bollywood is also on the up in Egypt where, from February, Good News Group is launching Hindi films, absent for several years, and also releasing a French film every fortnight in its theatres.
2006 was a bumper year for the producer, distributor and exhibitor: its controversial drama Yacoubian Building was the box office number one, taking $3.4 million.
The top 10 was dominated as ever by homegrown comedies, but Egyptian commercial fare is gradually diversifying, with low-budget films starring unknowns breaking through, even in the blockbuster summer months.
Egypt's quota system on foreign prints means that Hollywood struggles, foreign number one King Kong barely scraping $500,000.
Chronically underscreened (just 230 screens for a population of 75 million), Egypt should get another 25 screens in 2007, again as part of new mall complexes in Cairo and Alexandria.
Apart from Egypt's experiment with French cinema, and Beirut's new Metropolis independent cinema, arthouse and foreign-language titles have a long way to go in the Arab world - particularly since the demise of the Lebanese circuit, traditionally the most broadminded in the region.
In terms of diversifying fare, the Dubai International Film Festival is yet to have much impact on the somewhat conservative and reactionary distribution and exhibition circuit in the Gulf.
By Jorn Rossing Jensen
An unprecedented 69% increase of admissions for domestic fare in Finland boosted 2006 cinema attendance to 6.8m, up 12% from 6.lm the year before, according to preliminary statistics from the Finnish Film Foundation.
Sixteen Finnish premieres sold 1.6m tickets (compared with 15 films selling 940,000 tickets in 2005), controlling 23% of the market (up from 15%). Three local titles qualifyied for the list of overall top 10 films: Aleksi Makela's Matti-Hell Is for Heroes (No 1 with 461,314 admissions), Pekka Karjalainen's Jackpot (No 7 with 230,654 admissions) Joona Tena's FC Venus (No 8 with 221,534 - totalling 235,652, with 2005 results).
For the fourth consecutive year Finnish producer Markus Selin's Solar Films has supplied the local blockbuster of the year. Based on the turbulent life of Finnish ski-jumping champion Matti Nykanen, Matti-Hell Is for Heroes follows Aku Louhimies' Frozen Land, Makela's Vares and Bad Boys at the top spot.
The box-office growth was also helped by 164 foreign releases, led by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (456,278), The Da Vinci Code (364,070), and Casino Royale (344,262).
By Nancy Tartaglione-Vialatte
France's 2006 box-office tally of 189m admissions represents a 7.5% jump on 2005 and marks the second-best score since 1992. 2004 was a record year with 196m tickets sold.
France's exhibition watchdog, the FNCF, notes that the figures are estimates but that the first half of the year was clearly the engine behind the increased performance. With 103m tickets sold in the first half of 2006, the last six months only brought in 86m moviegoers, making it the worst second half in the past six years.
One reason for the poor showing in the second half of the year could be the World Cup football tournament which saw France advance to the finals and people preferring a couch and a plasma TV to auditorium seating and a big screen. Heat wave temperatures also hindered movie going in the early part of the summer.
Of all the top 20 films in 2006, six were French compared to just two in 2005. Overall, the top 20 films brought in 28m more viewers than the top 20 the previous year.
The clear winner was Patrice Leconte's Les Bronzes 3 with 10.4m admissions along with Fabien Onteniente's Camping in 4th place with 5.5m, Isabelle Mergault's Je Vous Trouve Tres Beau at number 6 with 3.5m, Eric Lartigau's Prete Moi Ta Main in 7th place with 3.4m, Cannes acting ensemble winner Days Of Glory (Indigenes) at number 8 with 3.1m, and Francis Veber's La Doublure at number 9 with 3.1m.
Of the top ten films, the US films were all either sequels or tentpoles (see list below). Interestingly, Ice Age 2 tied with the second with the Pirates Of The Caribbean 2. The Da Vinci Code, probably hindered locally by its bad buzz in Cannes, landed at number 5 behind French comedy Camping, which brought in more than 1m more moviegoers than Ron Howard's thriller (which was shot partially in Paris). Meanwhile, Casino Royale, at number 11, sold 2.7m tickets by year's end.
Local sleepers also helped box-office performance this year, including Je Vous Trouve Tres Beau and Lisa Azuelos' Comme T'y Es Belle. Although the latter is not among the top 20, it broke the 1m admissions barrier in a niche market.
It's difficult, then, to say that US blockbusters ruled France this year. The release of Les Bronzes 3 in February, and its subsequent success, follows a strategy in France that often sees the year's local winner released in the early part of the year. The biggest hits of the past several years have had early release dates - Brice De Nice (April), Les Choristes (March), Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra (January), Amelie (April), The Brotherhood Of The Wolf (January), Taxi (April), The Visitors I and II (January, February). In 2006, Je Vous Trouve Tres Beau was released in January, La Doublure in March and Camping in April.
Whether the success of those films is down to positioning or their inherent quality is hard to say but, frequently, if a French film does well in the winter or spring, it tends to build momentum around other local films. French market share is indeed higher in 2006 than it was in 2005. Further, there was name recognition this year with Les Bronzes, itself the third in a series of hugely successful films, the Cannes buzz around Days Of Glory and at number 14 for the year, France had its very own version of a bumbling James Bond in OSS 117.
Top 10 films by admissions in France through Dec 26, 2006
1. Les Bronzes 3, 10.4m
2. Pirates Of The Caribbean 2, 6.6m
- Ice Age 2, 6.6m
4. Camping, 5.5.m
5. The Da Vinci Code, 4.2m
6. Je vous trouve très beau, 3.5m
7. Prete-moi ta main, 3.4m
8. Days Of Glory (Indigenes), 3.1m
- La Doublure, 3.1m
10. X-Men 3, 2.8m
Top 10 films by admissions in France through Dec 27, 2005
1. Star Wars Episode III, 7.2m
2. Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, 6.7m
3. Brice de Nice, 4.4m
4. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, 4.1m
5. War Of The Worlds, 3.9m
6. Madagascar, 3.2m
- Million Dollar Baby, 3.2m
8. Mr And Mrs Smith, 3m
9. Les Poupees Russes, 2.9m
10. Iznogoud, 2.5m
By Martin Blaney
Germany's box-office fortunes were revived in 2006 after a devastating 2005 with a year-on-year increase in takings of 9.6% and admissions rising by 7.9%, according to figures from Nielsen EDI.
In data collected from Jan 2 to Dec 31 2006, box-office revenues amounted to $1.02bn (Euros 789.3m), compared to $936.6m (Euros 720.1m) in 2005, while the total admissions climbed from 121.3m to 130.9m in the past 12 months.
After increasing its market share in the previous two years from 7.6% (2004) to 11.8% (2005), Twentieth Century Fox saw its share of the box office swell to 17.3% in 2006 to overtake 2004 and 2005's top distributor UIP. Fox released the territory's top grossing film - Ice Age 2, which took $63.22m (Euros 48.6m) and sold over 8.7m tickets, and had another four releases in the year's Top 20: The Devil Wears Prada, Walk The Line, Borat and X-Men 3.
Meanwhile, UIP's share slipped from last year's pole position of 23% to 16.4%, led by the locally produced 7 Zwerge - Der Wald Ist Nicht Genug with $25.3m (Euros 19.5m), but Buena Vista was able to hold onto its third placing with a slight increase in market share from 14.1% to 15.3%. Not surprisingly, Buena Vista's top release was Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest with takings of $62m (Euros 47.8m) - only around $1m (Euros 800,000) below the year's top title Ice Age 2 - and the US major also had another five titles - Cars, The Lives Of Others, The Wild Soccer Bunch 3, Chicken Little, and Scary Movie 4 - in the Top 20.
Warner's slice of the box-office pie shrank by over 50% from 17.7% to 7.5% while Sony Pictures rebounded to fourth position in the Top 10 distributors with a 13.2% share (2005: 8%) thanks in large part to Ron Howard's The Da Vinci Code, the year's third most successful release with $50.7m (Euros 39m) - and the latest Bond project, Casino Royale, which had already clocked up $42.5m (Euros 32.7m) by the end of the year.
Constantin retained its market leader position among the German independent distributors with a 9.9% market share - up from 2005's disappointing 6.4%. The Munich-based producer-distributor was behind the release of the year's top local film, Tom Tykwer's Perfume - The Story Of A Murderer which was released in German cinemas in September and ended the year at No. 4 in the Top 10 with takings of $50m (Euros 38.4m).
Constantin's only other Top 20 title was Hui Buh - Das Schlossgespenst (at No. 13 with $13.4m/Euros 10.3m) which might have been expected to perform better with the casting of comedian Michael 'Bully' Herbig as the voice for the computer-animated castle ghost Hui Buh. It remains to be seen whether Herbig's next film for Constantin, the 3D animation Lissi Und Der Wilde Kaiser will bring the distributor back into a double-digit market share.
(In 2004, Herbig's live action sci-fi sendup Dreamship Surprise - Period One had been seen by more than 9.1m German cinema-goers and taken more than $66.4/Euros 51.2m to become the year's overall No. 1, sending Constantin's market share above 14%.)
As previously forecast, 2006 was a good year for the local production scene with the domestic market share increasing from 2005's 17% to 23% over the past 12 months. Constantin, as always, featured heavily in the year's Top 10 German films with four releases, including the top title Perfume.
Kinowelt clinched second place with Soenke Wortmann's football documentary Deutschland. Ein Sommermaerchen, which generated $31m (Euros 23.8m) box office and brought more than 3.9m cinema-goers into the cinemas to relive the heady days of June and July's World Cup competition.
In addition, the small Munich-based distributor Movienet garnered a 1% market share with its release of Marcus H. Rosenmueller's feature debut Grave Decisions (Wer Frueher Stirbt, Ist Laenger Tot) which has been seen by more than 1.2m cinema-goers and posted over $9.8m (Euros 7.5m) takings.
By Alexis Grivas
American blockbusters topped the Greek charts with The Da Vinci Code taking 665,000 admissions, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest with 658,000, and Casino Royale with 415,000 and still running into 2007. All were distributed by Audiovisual.
The top ten list did, however, include local releases, such as the Odeon distributed Loafing and Camouflage - Sirens of the Aegean.
Audiovisual distributed Greek titles, Extended Play (340,000 adms) and Straight Story (300,000) also performed strongly. All Greek films that score in the local market have one thing in common: they are entertainment fare: either comedies (Extended Play, Straight Story) or satirical approaches of issues of national interest (Loafing and Camouflage-Sirens of the Aegean).
The local public does not favour Greek auteur films dealing with serious subjects (Konstantinos Yiannaris' Berlin Filmfest hailed The Hostage a couple of years ago bombed at the box office)
The same public last year showed they will favour foreign auteur-oriented material. Babel and Volver scored respectively 110,000 and 80,000 admissions.
By Liz Shackleton
Hong Kong's box office remained flat in 2006 with overall takings of $116.5m (HK$907m), a marginal increase of 0.22% compared to the $116.3m (HK$905m) taken the previous year.
At the same time, local production continued its steady decline although the decreases in box office and production volumes were not as great as some in the industry had predicted.
Combined box office of local productions was down by a tiny 0.7% to $36.2m (HK$282m). However, only 51 local films were released compared to 55 the previous year. The market share of
Confirming the importance of star power and the golden touch of local producer Bill Kong, kung-fu action title Fearless, produced by Kong and starring Jet Li, was the top-grossing local film as of
Emperor Motion Pictures' Rob-B-Hood starring Jackie Chan was the second biggest local production, grossing $3.01m over the National Day holiday, which along with Chinese New Year and Christmas has also become a key box office period in
Three high-profile locally-produced films are still playing, of which two were only released on Dec 21 and have the potential to alter the ranking. After 11 days on release Curse Of The Golden Flower, also produced by Kong and starring Chow Yun-fat, had grossed $2.02m making it the third biggest local production of the year. Meanwhile Andrew Lau and Alan Mak's Confession Of Pain was close behind with $1.88m by the end of the year.
Combined box office for foreign films increased very slightly by 0.6% to $80.3m (HK$625m). Reflecting trends around the world, Pirates Of The Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest was the top grosser with $4.60m, followed by The Da Vinci Code with $4.47m and The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe with $3.93m.
However, the number of foreign films released in 2006 was down by nine to 180 reflecting the decreasing diversity in this territory where independent and arthouse distributors are currently finding it difficult to survive.
1. Pirates of the
2. The Da Vinci Code - $4.47m (HK$34.82m)
3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - $3.93m (HK$30.61m)
5. Fearless - $3.88m (HK$30.20m)
6. Superman Returns - $3.29m (HK$25.59)
7. Rob-B-Hood - $3.01m (HK$23.45m)
8. X-Men, The Last Stand - $2.66m (HK$20.71m)
9. Eight Below - $2.33m (HK$18.10m)
10.Casino Royale* - $2.12m (HK$16.51m)
* Still on release
Top 10 local films 2006
1. Fearless - $3.88m (HK$30.20m)
2. Rob-B-Hood - $3.01m (HK$23.45m)
3. Curse of the Golden Flower* - $2.02m (HK$15.72m)
5. Confession of Pain* - $1.88m (HK$14.65m)
6. Re-Cycle - $1.82m (HK$14.19m)
7. Election 2 - $1.74m (HK$13.58m)
8. Dragon Tiger Gate - $1.56m (HK$12.11m)
9. McDull, The Alumni - $1.37m (HK$10.65m)
10. 2 Become 1 - $1.31m (HK$10.24m)
* Still on release
Source: Motion Picture Industry Association
By Udita Jhunjhunwala
Indian box office revenues increased by 40% last year in what may prove to be a landmark year.
Films like Rang De Basanti, Fanaa, Krrish, Kabie Alvida Na Kehna, Phir Hera Pheri, Lage Raho Munnabhai and Dhoom 2 were the frontrunners.
The cops-and-robbers action chase film, Dhoom 2, led the pack taking $37m (Rs 1.65bn). Its closest contender was Krrish with $31m (Rs 1.35 bn.)
Higher ticket prices, the burgeoning multiplex business, greater emphasis on marketing, slicker products, release of a larger number of prints and a host of sequels contributed to the rise.
Once discernible change last year was that audiences snubbed what would once have been big-budget A-list star bankers, such as Jaan-E Mann, Baabul and Bhagam Bhag.
There were also successes where Bollywood broke out of its own formula, with films about a superhero (Krrish), social reawakening of the youth (Rang De Basanti), revival of Mahatma Gandhi (Lage Raho Munnabhai), arranged marriages (Vivah) and extra-marital affairs (Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna) dominating the box office.
Hollywood films revenues in the Indian market paled in comparison with Casino Royale ($0.9m) Superman Returns, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's ChestThe Da Vinci Code among the higher ranking films.
In spite of these figures, the Indian film industry and analysts remain cautious about 2007.
Content will continue to be the dominant factor for growth along with retail infrastructure (multiplexes and refurbished single screens) support.
The overseas market remains a key area for expansion especially as it currently comprises only 10% of revenues for Indian producers. New platforms like broadband, DTH, mobile and home entertainment are likely to be other significant growth drivers.
Box office top earners, 2006
1. Dhoom 2
Cost: $0.6m Revenue: $37m
Cost: $0.5m Revenue: $31m
3. Lage Raho Munnabhai
Cost: $0.3m Revenue: $29.3m
4. Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna
Cost: $1.1m Revenue: $29.3m
5. Rang De Basanti
Cost: $0.7m Revenue: $27m
Source: Film Information
By Sheri Jennings
Italian admissions for 2006 demonstrated little difference in respect to 2005. Italy's national ticket compiler Cinetel cites a slight 1.65% increase in attendance last year for a total of 92.2m tickets sold. Cinetel's data covers 85% of the Italian market.
Analysts here cite the first half of the year as better than the second half and are particularly disappointed by a 9.07% decrease in December, traditionally a busy month in Italian cinemas.
Local product in 2006 represented a similar share of the 2005 market.
Audiences bought 23m tickets to see local productions in 2006 (compared to 22.5m in 2005). Italian productions scooped up a 25% market share, and while it could be better, data confirms that local production keeps audiences interested.
In explanation of the figures, analysts cite slow local production in 2006, inconsistency in regard to day and date releases (a constant gripe for local exhibitors), piracy and over crowding of product in a shortened release season due to lack of summer releases as motivation for the soft 2006 figures.
Compared to other major European territories, local analysts point out that Italy lagged behind Germany which demonstrated a 7.9% increase in 2006 as well as France (up 7.5%) while Spain showed a 2.2% decrease in ticket sales in respect to 2005's figures.
By Jason Gray
The final box office figures for Japan will be confirmed at the end of the month but the success of local films has clearly been the story of 2006
The market share of Japanese films released in 2006 stood close to 50% as the year drew to a close.
In 2002, local films accounted for an all-time low of 27.1% market share, but the past four years have seen year-on-year increases. In 2005, Japanese films grabbed more than 40% of the pie for the first time since 1997.
More than 360 domestic titles were released last year, beating last year's 356 and on track to top 400, a number not reached since 1973.
2006 saw Japan's powerful TV network oligopoly fully utilise its media clout to produce and market feature films offering spectacle on a scale equal to Hollywood and stories that appeal to local audiences.
An elusive demographic until now, young people have also been flocking to cinemas to see local fare in higher numbers than ever before.
The year's top 10 earners are evenly split between Hollywood and local hits. Japan's top grossers included Studio Ghibli's Tales From Earthsea at $65.4m (Y7.6bn), Fuji TV's Umizaru 2: Test Of Trust with $61m (Y7.1bn) and Suite Dreams with $52.5m (Y6.1bn). Six local films have surpassed $50m, easily beating any previous records.
Although Hollywood hits Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and The Da Vinci Code hold the top two spots, many Hollywood releases, such as Cars and Superman Returns, have underperformed this year.
Still to be released in 2006 is Shochiku's Love And Honor, the third in Yoji Yamada's samurai trilogy and starring one of Japan's most famous singer-actors, Takuya Kimura. In addition, Toho will release Nana 2 on December 9 and the sequel looks set to outperform last year's $35m smash. Fuji TV's period palace drama Oh-Oku, to be released on December 23 by Toei, hopes to cash in big on the popular TV series.
These films go head to head with several medium-sized Hollywood titles. Sony Pictures Entertainment releases Casino Royale and animated Open Season on December 1 and December 9 respectively. Warner Brothers releases Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima on December 9 and UIP-distributed Charlotte's Web opens December 23.
Despite the renaissance for Japanese films, there's still some doubt whether 2006's overall earnings will beat last year's $1.7bn (Y198.1bn). Surveying 13 foreign and domestic distribution companies, media industry newsletter Bunka Tsushin published a combined total earnings of $1.39bn (Y161.5bn) for January to October.
By Jean Noh
Korean cinema admissions increased by 14.6% to 166 million in 2006, marking the tenth year of growth, according to figures released by leading Korean exhibitor CJ CGV.
The admissions figure is the third highest in South Korean box office history and also marks the fifth consecutive year over the landmark 100 million admissions level.
According to the exhibitor's report, local product accounted for a 64.7% market share nationwide and 60% in Seoul. Market share has been on the rise since 2002, but this was the first year that local films took over 60%.
In Seoul, US films had a 35% market share, while all other foreign films shared the remaining 5%.
Bong Joon-ho's creature thriller The Host, which is Korea's all-time top-grossing local film, took first place in the top 10 with about 13 million admissions. In second place is historical drama King And The Clown which was an unexpected sleeper hit spurred on by word-of-mouth and 'word-of-mouse' on the internet.
Card sharp drama Tazza: The High Rollers trailed in third place with 6.8 million admissions - nonetheless a healthy score for the film which has an 18+ rating - while gangster comedy sequel My Boss, My Teacher followed in fourth.
These local hits were followed closely by Hollywood blockbuster Mission: Impossible III, which opened in May to clock up 5.7 million admissions.
This year sees leading distributors CJ Entertainment and Showbox bickering over who led the market in 2006, and the industry is generally looking to forthcoming KOFIC data for the final word. An affiliate of CJ Entertainment, CJ CGV notably did not rank distributors in its report today.
Although both KOFIC's and CJ CGV's numbers are generally reliable within Seoul where electronic ticketing is the norm, CJ CGV's numbers are based on respective distributors' official tallies of their films' scores - and therefore considered to be potentially skewed.
On the other hand, the Korean Film Council (KOFIC)'s year-end statistics match up distributor reports with numbers taken from its automated ticketing database - which has about 91% of cinemas linked up - with the addition of tallies from theatres in the provinces that are not part of the database.
KOFIC's year-end round-up is scheduled to be announced next week. .
By Silvia Wong
Malaysia 's box office continued to grow in 2006 with total takings reaching an all-time high of $75.7m (RM265.2m) from 314 releases, a 9% increase on record takings of $69.6m (RM243.6m) the previous year.
Following consistent growth since 2001, the 2006 box office is 131% bigger than six years ago. Prior to 2006, the country scored double-digit box office growth for four consecutive years with an average of 20.75% per annum growth.
BVI released the top three grossing films in 2006: Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which took $2.94m (RM10.3m) and also became the country's fourth highest-grossing film ever; Fearless, which took $2.54m (RM8.9m), and Casino Royale with $2.46m (RM8.6m).
Malay-language films also triumphed with the two biggest local hits in four years. Billed as Malaysia 's first superhero film, the special effects-laden Cicak-Man took an impressive $1.43m (RM5m) and topped the local film chart as well as cracking the overall top 10. Meanwhile, Remp-It, a controversial film about illegal motorbike racers, grossed $1.14m (RM4m).
The Malay-language films grossed a combined box office of $8.5m (RM29.8m), representing 11.2% of the total market share.
'Although the 2006 growth is no longer in double digits as in past years, it has still managed a very optimistic 9%,' says Nicholas Yong, UIP managing director for Malaysia and Singapore. 'The continued growth can be attributed to the additional screens being built, suitable products for the local market and an increasing acceptance of foreign-language products being introduced locally.'
Last year saw the addition of 29 new screens with the opening of Cathay Cineleisure Damansara, Silver Screen Cineplex Tawau, TGV Tebrau City, Iswaria Perdana Fajar as well as five screens added to existing Cathay City Square.
The box office was also boosted by the release of more foreign-language films - 48% more than the year before. Thai black magic horror Art Of The Devil 2 became the highest grossing Thai film ever with $0.43m (RM1.5m). Other Thai hits included Dorm and Ghost Game (both $0.31m apiece).
Malaysia Top Ten Films 2006
1. Pirates Of The Caribbean : Dead Man's Chest (BVI) $2.94m (RM10.3m)
2. Fearless (BVI) $2.54m (RM8.9m)
3. Casino Royale (BVI) $2.46m (RM8.6m)
4. X-Men: The Last Stand (Fox) $2.06m (RM7.2m)
5. Superman Returns (WB) $2.06m (RM7.2m)
6. Mission Impossible III (UIP) $2.03m (RM7.1m)
7. Rob-B-Hood (GSC) $1.88m (RM6.6m)
8. The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift (UIP) $1.60m (RM5.6m)
9. Cicak Man (Kru Films) $1.43m (RM5m)
10. Eragon (Fox) $1.34m (RM4.7m)
Malaysia Top Ten Local Films 2006
1. Cicak Man - $1.43m (RM5m)
2. Remp-It - $1.14m (RM4m)
3. Nana Tanjung - $0.86m (RM3m)
4. Bujang Senang - $0.77m (RM2.7m)
5. Buli Balik - $0.63m (RM2.2m)
6. Cinta - $0.57m (RM2m)
7. Castello - $0.40m (RM1.4m)
8. Diva Popular - $0.29m (RM1m)
9. Senario Pemburu Emas Yamashita - $256,900 (RM900,000)
10. Man Laksa - $224,365 (RM786,000)
By Robbert Blokland
The Dutch box-office business has recovered in 2006 after a devastating 2005 with an increase 9% in admissions and an increase of 14% in box-office takings.
Total box-office gross revenues amounted to $200.0m (Euros 154.5 m), compared to $176.2m (Euros 135.5m) in 2005. The total admissions climbed from 20.6m to 22.5m in the past twelve months.
Buena Vista released the territory's top-grossing film, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, which took $13.8m (Euros 10.6m) and sold more than 1.5m tickets, followed by Sony's The Da Vinci Code, which grossed $10.5m (Euros 8.1m) and 1.1 m admissions.
The best-performing Dutch production was Paul Verhoeven's wartime thriller Black Book. His first local production in 30 years grossed $9.1m (Euros 7m) and sold almost 1m tickets.
The total market share of local films was 10.9% of all theatrical admissions. In addition to Black Book, successful Dutch releases were Ben Sombogaart's Crusade in Jeans ($2.9m or Euros 2.2 m), Maria Peters's XTC: Just don't do it! ($2.9m or Euros 2.2 m) and Johan Nijenhuis's Zoop in India ($2.5m or Euros 1.9m).
Apart from Black Book, all national successes are children's films, a consistent trend in the Dutch film industry. Family films have been responsible for the most significant part of local admissions for quite some years. In 2005, the best performing Dutch titles were Kameleon 2, Zoop in Africa, and Schnitzel Paradise - all three aiming for a younger audience.
By Jorn Rossing Jensen
Norwegian cinema attendance has recovered from a temporary decline, to total 1.9 admissions in 2006, up 5.3% from 2005, according to preliminary figures from Norwegian cinema association, Film & Kino. Domestic films sold 1.9m tickets, to take 16.5% of the market - up from 12.2% the previous year - the best result since 1975 with the exception for 2003.
'It is good to see that local features do so well in competition with the international blockbusters,' said Film & Kino's managing director Lene Loken. 'At the same time an all-time record in DVD sales shows that the market has space for several ways of distributing films.'
Loken added that over the last 10 years that Norwegian cinema attendance has been stable in spite of annual fluctuations, due to the number of larger, audience-oriented films.
Slightly above average, 2006 has been dominated by such international features as Ice Age 2 (890,025 admissions), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (665,274), The Da Vinci Code (442,603) and Casino Royale (401,094).
Six domestic productions entered the list of Top 20 Films, lead by comedy Long Flat Balls (258,329), thriller Cold Prey (251,594) and family film The Jr Olsen Gang at the Circus (243,220).
According to Film & Kino's video consultant, Erik Zmuda, DVD sales reached 18m units in 2006. The 25 most popular titles, with Ice Age 2, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, accounted for 2.4m discs.
'What works in the cinemas, works on DVD,' explained Zmuda. His calculations conclude that for the 25 titles, theatrical earnings contributed 53.5% and DVD 46.5% to their total turnover.
By Vladan Petkovic
The first estimates of Serbian-Montenegrin box-office in 2006 show the biggest decline since the economic embargo imposed by the UN Security Council from 1992 to 1995. From January to November, Serbian theaters sold 1.52m admissions, falling 43% from 2005's 2.65m 2 and earning a total gross of about $4.5m (SD306m), which is 36% down from $7.7m (SD477m) last year. As the value of 1 US dollar went down from 71.39 Serbian dinars in January to 57.56 in December, and average ticket price jumped $.28 (SD20) in ten months, the difference in American currency is 38%.
There are several causes for this more than alarming state of Serbian-Montenegrin theatrical market (Montenegro became an independent state in June but the distribution system has not yet been completely separated). The primary problem for the film business - piracy - has been somewhat lowered since the Serbian Parliament adopted the law on special authorisation for property of intellectual rights last spring.
This brought on raids and confiscation of pirated DVDs that had been freely sold on every corner and arrests of the people selling them, but hasn't stopped piracy because a lack of the law enforcement.
As former habit cinema-going practically became pirates-buying, the exhibition sector suffered the most. In November the leading Serbian exhibitor, state-owned Beograd Film decided to close eight of its 14 theaters in the center of the key city which accounts for half of the overall market. Eight other cinemas have not been in use since 2003, and most of them closed because of the lack of audiences.
Beograd Film went on a strike because of 20 months of unpaid salaries, poor conditions of work and terrible state of the cinemas. The process of privatisation is frozen and the National Agency for Privatization shows no interest in changing the current state. This leaves Belgrade with 20 active screens, while the second largest city Nis (300,000 citizens) has only two and Novi Sad (200,000) four. By comparison, Slovenia which has the same population as Belgrade (2m) has 96 active screens.
2006 saw both the rise of local films production with unprecedented 13 local releases and the fall of the percentage of their market share. The Serbian-Montenegrin theatrical market had always been predominantly driven by local films and it is one of the rare territories in the world where local products regularly outperform Hollywood blockbusters. In 2005, Srdjan Dragojevic's We Are Not Angels 2 sold 657,143 admissions to gross $1.9m and Zdravko Sotra's Ivko's Fete's sold 617,607 tickets to gross $1.6m, compared to Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire's 79,516 admissions and $220,343 by January 4, 2006.
This year, for the first time since 2003's triumph of Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King, a Hollywood film was the most successful one: The Da Vinci Code grossed about $421,899 from 118,252 tickets on ten prints after a run of 20 weeks. It is followed by the third part of We Are Not Angels franchise (114,390 admissions, $390,000) and the first ever co-production of all former Yugoslav states, Rajko Grlic's Karaula (101,461 admissions, $313,000)
Top Five Films in Serbia and Montenegro 2006 *
1. The Da Vinci Code (distributor: Tuck) 118,252 admissions for SD26,832,755 or $421,899
2. We Are Not Angels 3(Cinears) 114,390 for SD23,627,968 or $390,000
3. Karaula (Cinears) 101,461 for SD20,291,146 or $313,000
4. Ice Age 2 (Tuck) 97,847 for SD17,846,321 $258,642
5. Seven And A Half (Mirius) 58,931 for SD12,595,619 or 193,778
(* Estimates by November)
By Silvia Wong
After a flat 2005, Singapore box office regained growth momentum in 2006 with a 6% year-on-year increase in total box office takings which amounted to $85.18m (S$131.08m) from 341 releases.
As with previous years, Hollywood mega blockbusters ruled the box office. The top grossing film was Fox's X-Men: The Last Stand with $3.14m (S$4.83m), which was followed closely by BVI's Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest with $2.98m (S$4.59m).
Although only one Singapore production figured in the top 10 chart, Jack Neo's long-awaited sequel I Not Stupid Too scooped $2.72m (S$4.18m) for third place - beating Mission: Impossible III ($2.70m), Superman Returns ($2.47m) and The Da Vinci Code ($2.06m).
Through word-of-mouth buzz, I Not Stupid Too took the top spot in its second and third week after opening at number two last January. It went on to become the second highest grossing local film ever in Singapore.
The local nascent film industry also made a splash in 2006 with a record nine new releases, including Royston Tan's 4:30, Kelvin Tong's Love Story, Woo Yen Yen and Colin Goh's Singapore Dreaming and the city-state's first 3D animation Zodiac: The Race Begins.
The only other Asian film in the top 10 was Fearless starring Jet Li which grossed $2.02m while Rob-B-Hood starring Jackie Chan ($1.35m) and Zhang Yimou's Curse Of The Golden Flower ($1.24m and still playing) were in the top 20.
Singapore box office fortunes were resurrected in 2006 partly thanks to the openings of the city-state's first new cinemas in seven years. Last March, Cathay reopened the landmark The Cathay building which houses an eight-screen multiplex while Golden Village launched a 15-screen flagship at Vivocity last October.
Meanwhile, Cathay is poised to open two new state-of-the-art multiplexes this year in two under-screened areas to further pull in the crowds. The eight-screen cinema at AMK Hub is scheduled for a May opening while the 10-screen cinema at Downtown East will be ready by December. Both cinemas have a combined seating capacity of 1,656.
Singapore Top Ten 2006
1. X-Men: The Last Stand (Fox) - $3.14m (S$4.83m)
2. Pirates Of The Caribbean 2 (BVI) - $2.98m (S$4.59m)
3. I Not Stupid Too (MediaCorp Raintree/UIP) - $2.72m (S$4.18m)
4. Mission : Impossible III (UIP) - $2.70m (S$4.15m)
5. Superman Returns (WB) - $2.47m (S$3.81m)
6. The Da Vinci Code (SPRI) - $2.06m (S$3.18m)
7. *Casino Royale (SPRI) - $2.05m (S$3.16m)
8. Fearless (BVI) - $2.02m (S$3.11m)
9. *Night At The Museum (Fox) -$1.85m (S$2.85m)
10. *Happy Feet (GV) - $1.82 (S$2.81m)
* still on release after 31 December 2006
By Vladan Petkovic
Slovenia with its population of 2 million, 96 active screens, low piracy level and EU membership is by far the best developed market of the former Yugoslavia.
In 2006, saw a total of 2.7 million admissions up 10% up on 2005's 2.46 million.
Revenues rose 12%, to $12.4m (SIT 2,414m) from 2005's $12,3m (SIT2,156m). (Average ticket price is $5.5, compared to $4 in Croatia, $3.5 in Serbia or $3 in Bosnia. )
Unlike other former Yugoslav territories, where local films made a big impact, the Slovenian top 10 of 2006 was dominated by Hollywood. Like most international territories, the Slovenian chart was topped by Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, The Da Vinci Code, Borat and Ice Age 2.
Slovenian Top 10 2006
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest $0.73m
The Da Vinci Code $0.72m
Borat $0.53m *
Ice Age 2 $0.52m
Garfield 2 $0.48m
Casino Royale $0.45m *
Chicken Little $0.39m
Failure To Launch $0.21m
The Break Up $0.2m
By Jennifer Green
Spanish admissions dropped 2.2% last year, while a rise in ticket prices sent grosses up almost the same percentage.
Admissions were down to 124m, while ticket sales were up to $839m (Euros 648m), according to figures from Nielsen EDI.
'The reality is that it was a 'good' year for Spain,' says Arturo Guillen of the Madrid office of EDI Nielsen. 'This is a mature market and as long as the box office stays within the Euros 600m range it is good.'
But each local sector is likely to give the data, and forthcoming figures from the Ministry of Culture, its own interested spin in the days ahead.
'The market is not doing well,' says art-house distributor-exhibitor Enrique Gonzalez Macho of Alta Films. 'The figures are around the same as last year which is bad news because they were down last year.' He cites piracy as the key challenge facing the sector right now.
Performance of Spanish films also looks to be down despite the runaway success of Viggo Mortensen-starrer Alatriste, which took $21.6m (Euros 16.7m), and the strong performance of Pedro Almodovar's Volver (with $12.95 or Euros 10m). Both films accomplished the feat of landing in the top 10 films, including Hollywood releases.
According to the Ministry of Culture's figures through Dec 24, market share for Spanish films was down more than a percentage point for 2006.
An interesting trend is the close performance of all the majors in Spain last year: Fox cornered about a 20% market share, with UIP, BVI and Sony following close behind around 14% and Warner at 12%. The studios took about a 60% market share between them, handling all ten of the ten top-grossing films in Spain and the three top-grossing Spanish films.
By Jorn Rossing Jensen
In spite of the release of 36 new Swedish features in 2006, local productions sold only 3m cinema tickets - down 300,000 (9%) from 2005 - to control 20% of the theatrical market, against 22.6% the previous year, according to preliminary statistics from the Swedish Film Institute.
International blockbusters, led by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's ChestCasino Royale (653,000) and The Da Vinci Code (652,000), were credited for the 5% growth of cinema attendance, which reached 15.3m admissions compared with 14.6m the previous year. (selling 1.1m tickets),
Better performance of domestic fare has become top priority with new managing director Cissi Elwin, of the Swedish Film Institute, who has named producer Charlotta Edward head of a Production Support Department, with the brief of improving the institute's backing of new films.
By funding each project by an average of 40% instead of 25%, the annual number of productions is likely to be reduced to 20. Elwin wants to provide more funding for development and new competence in finance, budgeting and marketing to assure the quality of the product.
Best local performers in 2006 included Colin Nutley's Heartbreak HotelBeck-The Scorpion (FilmLance International, Nordisk Film Production/285,000) and Marten Klingberg's Offside (Gotafilm/249,000). (Sweetwater, Svensk Filmindustri/462,000 tickets), Harald Hamrell's
By Antonia Carver
According to local daily Cumhuriyet, the Turkish box office is seeing an increase in interest in local films - in 2006, for the first time, more Turkish films (51.5%) were distributed in theatres around the country than foreign and Hollywood films combined.
In Turkey, Dodona predicts a 20% admissions rise by 2010 - again fuelled by mall developments. 'By 2010, 33 million Turks are expected to visit a projected total of 1,250 screens,' says the report. And according to local daily Cumhuriyet, the Turkish box office is seeing an increase in interest in local films - in 2006, for the first time, more Turkish films (51.5%) were distributed in theaters around the country than foreign and Hollywood films combined.
United Arab Emirates/Dubai
By Antonia Carver
Admissions in the UAE rose by almost one million to a total of 6.4 million in 2006, fuelled by the opening of two new multiplexes in Dubai.
The UAE's market share in the region is increasing at a rate of 15% per annum; distributor Empire says the Emirates now makes up 45% of the box office for its Columbia and Fox titles (distributed in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and the Gulf states).
The UAE top ten, as elsewhere in the Gulf and Jordan, is dominated by predictable Hollywood product - Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (which took $1.7 million in the UAE), followed by Mission Impossible 3, Casino Royale and The Da Vinci Code.
Compared to the international chart, the only blip is the absence of Borat, banned throughout the region except in Lebanon, where box office business dropped off dramatically following the Israeli invasion in the summer - traditionally the highest-grossing period in the region outside the two Eid holidays.
The UAE's visitation rate is still low at 1.1 per capita - excluding the network of Hindi, Tamil and Malayalan cinemas.
The Gulf's down-at-heel Indian cinemas are likely to benefit from the $22m invested by private equity group 3i in digital cinema chain UFO Moviez, looking to expand its presence in India and nearby markets. India's Economic Times reported this month that Dubai-based distributor and exhibitor Al Nisr has agreed to wire up 35 screens in the UAE as part of the deal.
By Diana Lodderhose/Screen reporters
The UK/Ireland box office recorded final year revenues of $1.63.5bn (£840.2m), less than a percentage point down on the previous year, according to figures from Nielsen EDI.
The figures were boosted in the final quarter by the extraordinary success of Casino Royale and Borat.
The 21st James Bond outing was neck and neck as the number one film at the box office in 2006 with Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, and has since crossed $100m. It is already easily the biggest film of the highly-successful 35-year franchise and a triumph for its UK talent.
Another big box office surprise featured another British talent comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. Borat took $46.3m in the UK.
There had been some concern before Christmas that the final couple of weeks of the year would be slow nut 20th Century Fox decision to use Boxing Day as the opening date for Night At The Museum across 500 sites paid off. The film added a strong $15m with a screen average of $15,986 for the final week of the year.
Romantic comedy Confetti took $3.8m in its first five weeks in the UK while stage-adaptation The History Boys raked in $7.5m in the latter half of the year.
The Queen, a UK-French-Italian co-production, was another leading box office success in 2006, grossing over $15m in the UK since its September release and has gone on to exceed global expectations in addition to generating Oscar-buzz.
But smaller, homegrown films such as Andrea Arnold's Red Road and London To Brighton saw relatively modest returns in cinemas - Red Road took just over $300,000 in the box office while London To Brighton barely passed the $150,000 mark in December. However, UK local films did give audiences a taste of a new generation of British filmmakers and talent bubbling through the market.
UK top films 2006
Casino Royale $97.1m
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest $97.1m
The Da Vinci Code $57.9m
Ice Age 2: The Meltdown $54m
X-Men: The Last Stand $35.1m
Superman Returns $29.8m
Mission: impossible III $28.3m
The Devil Wears Prada $26.6m