Since the end of the war in 1996, Serbian and Croatian distributors contracted to Hollywood majors had distributed their releases in Bosnia and Herzegovina through branches in parts of the territory where their nations had economic and political dominance. Therefore results scored in Republika Srpska (the Serbian entity of B&H) were included in Serbian charts, and the results of Croatian distributors in Croatian majority-populated areas went into Croatian charts.
Now after ten years, the distribution and exhibition sectors are better established and more clearly defined. Croatian and Serbian distributors' branches still work on the aforementioned basis, but in 2006 a new company Continental entered the market, distributing 20th Century Fox and SPCR directly. It took two years for the Zenica-based distributor Tropic to reach an agreement among four other existing companies to send results and to start compiling reports. However, the results of the branches' releases are still included in Serbian and Croatian reports, making charts from all three territories partially inaccurate.
Confusion with figures aside, the territory is very film-focused. As in Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnian-Herzegovinian audiences have a taste for local humour, atmosphere and actors, making domestic films very popular. Serbian and Croatian films also do well due in great part to the star status of some of the actors who have carried over from what was previously Yugoslav cinema.
Bosnia hosts 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). Also in Bosnia is CineLink, a regional co-production market conceived in cooperation with Rotterdam's CinemArt.
Crippling the market, however, are problems similar to those faced in Serbia and Montenegro: a high level of unemployment and piracy, the poor condition 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 in the 4.5m- populated territory is about 6,000 admissions. Key city Sarajevo, which has about 500,000 citizens, has only six active screens.
However, all this did not stop the Jasmila Zbanic's Grbavica: The Land Of My Dreams selling more tickets in B&H 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 DVDs appearing on streets of the biggest cities seven days after the premiere instead of a few weeks before, as is the case with most Hollywood titles. Despite the one-week window, audiences kept going to cinemas to see the tragic story of a mother and daughter dealing with the terrible consequences of war in Bosnia. It's a story to which 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 was regional phenomenon Rajko Grlic's Border Post (Karaula), the first co-production in all former Yugoslav territories, with popular Bosnian actor Emir Hadzihafesbegovic in the main role, which sold about 90,000 tickets, earning about $225,000 (BAM337,500). By comparison, best-ranked Hollywood picture 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 will be compiled, but the figures for Grbavica and Border Post suggest a definite jump in market share compared with past years.