Increased ticket prices have helped raise total box-office revenues in Argentina but admissions have been falling. Diego Batlle reports.

Admissions figures in Argentina dropped by an estimated 7% for the first half of 2007. The period saw 18.2 million admissions as opposed to 19.5 million in 2006.

However, total box office was up 15.5% from the same period last year because of the rise in the average ticket price from $2.65 to $3.25.

Hollywood blockbusters took an 84.8% share of the market (87.8% in the same period of 2006), local productions logged 4.4% (from last year's 4.1%), while European, Asian and other Latin American films recorded a 10.8% share (up from 8.1% a year ago).

The fall in admissions particularly affected Argentinian films. The 38 titles - including co-productions - released during the first six months sold just 800,000 tickets. Juan Taratuto's romantic comedy Who Says It's Easy (Quien Dice Que Es Facil) was the best performer, but that was only good enough for the 10th spot in the overall top 10 with 420,000 tickets.

Only four US films have attracted more than 1 million viewers, led by Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End with 1.6 million and counting.

Germany's The Lives Of Others (290,000 tickets sold) and the UK's The Queen (270,000) were the most successful European productions of the January-June period.

The local industry is still confident it will beat last year's 11.6% share, thanks to several upcoming high-profile local releases, including Rodolfo Ledo's police comedy Incorrigibles and two animated features - Jose Luis Massa's Isidoro, La Pelicula and Juan Pablo Buscarini's The Ark - all set for the winter holidays this month, traditionally the country's most profitable period.

Top 10 Films at the Argentinian box office by admissions (Jan-June 2007)
1 Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End (US)1.6m*
2 Spider-Man 3 (US)1.4m
3 Shrek The Third (US)1.3m*
4 Night At The Museum (US)1.1m
5 300 (US)880,000
6 Meet The Robinsons (US)620,000
7 Deja Vu (US)580,000
8 Babel (US-Fr-Mex)565,000
9 Flushed Away (US-UK)560,000
10 Quien Dice Que Es Facil (Arg)420,000
* Still on release