Brazil's box office dropped an estimated 17.5 % in 2005,according to figures released by the local film distributors' union. Thecountry's sales amounted approximately $278.9m (R$ 633m), signaling the end of six years of market growth, pushed partially by the expansion of the exhibitionsector that today totals about 2,000 screens as opposed to 1,400 in 1999.

The territory's totalattendance fell in the past 12 months from 114.7m to 88m admissions (up toDecember 29th). The total and official numbers will be announcednext week.

Hollywood films enjoyed the market share with an estimated 88%,leaving a local market with 12% for a total of 40 Brazilian films released 11less than 2004. This is a drop from previous years, when local productions were14.3% in 2004 and 21.4% in 2003 - a record since the 1990s renaissance ofBrazilian cinema.

The biggest surprise forlocal cinema was Columbia's TwoSons of Franciscowhich overtook Carandiru to become the highest domestic-grossingBrazilian film of the last 20 years and topped the 2005 box office chartbeating all Hollywoodfilms. This biopic about country music duo, Zeze Di Camargo & Luciano directed by Breno Silveira, sold 5.3m admissions and grossed $16.1m (R$36.7m.)

The second mostsuccessful Brazilian film, Warner's Xuxa eo Tesouro da Cidade Perdida, didn't reacheven a third of the Two Sons' attendance, selling 1.3m tickets andtaking $ 3.1m (R$ 7.1m.) Buena Vista'sCasamento de Romeue Julieta came third, with 969.103 admissions anda gross of $3.2m (R$ 7.3m) this is despite Casamento'sbox office takings being superior to Xuxa, dueto the latter's discounted admissions price. In Brazil films are always ranked by the number of ticketssold, this is due to the different currencies in Brazil prior to the introduction of the real in 1994.

Among the Hollywood blockbusters, Warner's Harry Potter and the Gobletof Fire was number one in Brazil, with 4.36m tickets and $13.3m (R$ 30.3m). It wasfollowed by UIP's Madagascar,with 4.34m admissions and a gross of $12.29m (R$ 27.9m), and in third place wasBuena Vista's The Incredibles,with 4.2m spectators and $12.24m (R$ 27.8m).

According to Paulo Sergio Almeida, president of FilmeB, a local film company thatreviews theatrical market numbers, it was the lack of successful films that dragged the marketdown. Even American productions didn't perform as well as Spider-Man 2,7.7 m tickets and $21.2m (R$ 48.1m) and The Passion of the Christ 6.8madmissions and $19.7m (R$ 44.9m) in 2004.

The increase in ticketprice was probably another factor that impacted on declining box officenumbers. The average ticket price is now $3.16 (R$ 7.18), as opposed to $ 2.94 (R$ 6.68) in2004. The cinema-going audience is very price sensitive and this hike in costnormally results in viewers electing to see Hollywood productions which have more publicity over localBrazilian films.

Top 10 films in Brazil2005

1- TwoSons of Francisco,Columbia, 5.3m admissions, R$ 36.7m

2- HarryPotter and the Goblet of Fire,Warner, 4.36m admissions, R$ 30.3m

3-Madagascar,UIP, 4.34m admissions, R$ 27.9m

4-TheIncredibles, Buena Vista, 4.2m admissions, R$ 27.8m

5- FantasticFour, Fox, 2.8madmissions, R$ 19m

6- Warof Worlds, UIP, 2.6madmissions, R$ 19m

7- Constantine, Warner, 2.4m admissions, R$ 18.1m

8- BatmanBegins, Warner, 2.36madmissions, R$ 17.3m

9- StarWars Episode III - Revenge of The Sith,Fox, 2.35m admissions, R$ 18m

10-Kingdom of Heaven, Fox, 2.32madmissions, R$ 17.2m

Top 10 Brazilian films2005

1-TwoSons of Francisco, Columbia, 5.3madmissions, R$ 36.7m

2-Xuxae o Tesouro da Cidade Perdida, Warner, 1.3madmissions, R$ 7.1m

3-OCasamento de Romeu e Julieta, BuenaVista, 969.103 admissions, R$ 7.3m

4-Tainá2 - A Aventura Continua, Columbia, 788.442admissions, R$ 4.61m

5-OCoronel e o Lobisomen, Fox, 654.983admissions, R$ 4.67m

6-MeuTio Matou um Cara, Fox, 573.773admissions, R$ 4m

7-Elianae o Segredo dos Golfinhos, Fox, 330.742admissions, R$ 2m

8-MaisUma Vez Amor, Warner, 228.567 admissions, R$ 1.6m

9- Vinicius, UIP, 205.603 admissions, R$ 1.8m

10-House of Sand, Columbia, 187.296 admissions, R$ 1.5m

Source:Filme B