Only two Spanish film sin top 30: Three Steps Above Heaven and Julia’s Eyes.
The Spanish box office in 2010 marginally rose by 3% to €655 from €633m in 2009, but this was due to the success of Hollywood pictures, particularly Avatar, as a large number of local and international indie titles failed to make a huge impression.
A staggering 28 of the top 30 films from last year were released by the US studios and the other two were independent US titles, Shutter Island and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
Enjoying the most success were the 3D films, Avatar ($69m), Toy Story 3 ($32.7m) and Alice In Wonderland ($30.4m).
“We started the year brilliantly with Avatar, and then continued to enjoy good box office figures with the likes of Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief ($5.8m) and Knight & Day ($7.5m) and then at the at the end of the year with Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps ($6.3m), Unstoppable ($4.1m), The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader ($13m) and Gulliver’s Travels ($7.8m),” Angel Melendro, director of marketing at Hispano Fox Film, told ScreenDaily.
Of the Spanish titles released, only Fernando Gonzalez Molina’s Three Steps Above Heaven and Guillem Morales’ horror Julia’s Eyes, backed by The Orphanage producers Rodar Y Rodar, made it in to the top 30, taking $11.5m and $9.2m respectively. The only other local titles of note in the charts were Nacho G Velilla’s comedy Death To Ugly People, which took $8.7m and Woody Allen’s You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger ($5.7m).
“Only a handful of local films succeeded in 2010 because they were packaged very well,” said Manuel Monzon at local distributor Vertice Cine, whose standout success was Shutter Island ($11.3m). “The distributors did their homework and they had a clear target audience, which is maybe not the case for some of the other films released.”
Some of Spain’s most hotly anticipated co-production titles like Andrucha Waddington’s epic Lope, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Biutiful and Julio Medem’s Room In Rome struggled to meet expectations.
This is a dramatic fall from 2009 where a great number of local titles succeeded, most notably Agora ($30m), but including Cell 211, Spanish Movie, The Secret In Their Eyes, [Rec] 2 and Planet 51.
European indies from outside of Spain fared even worse, including the surprising failure of the third installment of the Millenium trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, which only took $3.5m, compared with $13.5 for the first film and $7.8m for the second.
Overall admissions have also declined, from 102 million in 2009 to 100 million in 2010.
“The situation with the local market is critical, I have never seen it so bad,” Enrique Gonzalez Kuhn, head of acquisitions at indie distributor Alta Films told ScreenDaily. “The television networks are buying almost nothing, the DVD market is dead, VoD has failed to take off, and piracy is rampant, it is a disastrous time for us independent distributors.”