While Serbia's local productions regularly outperform Hollywood releases, this year home-grown titles are suffering - despite overall admissions rising 21% year-on-year for the first six months of 2002, from 1,665,245 in 2001 to 2,021,843 tickets sold this year.

Unlike most emerging and mature markets, summer is a slow season for Serbian cinemas as there are only four or five open-air theatres in the territory and no air-conditioning to speak of.

In summer 2001, local productions reigned at the Serbian box office with Samardzic's Natasha and Andric's Thunderbirds holding top chart positions for ten weeks, selling 612,000 admissions between them.

In 2002, however, the two local productions released have seriously underachieved. Zecevic's TT Syndrome, a low budget horror - a genre with a very small core audience in the territory - received positive reviews and success at international festivals but managed only 18,191 tickets in 13 weeks, grossing $31,854.

Milosavljevic's Ringe Raja was expected to do better after his previous features Wheels and Mechanism both scored well at the box office, however it has recorded just 38,739 admissions, grossing $64,000 in nine weeks; mostly due to negative reviews.

Serbian audiences must now turn their hopes to two films currently in production which are due out towards the end of the year. Both Karanovic's Loving Glances and Zecevic's Little Night Music boast promising casts and plots aiming to fulfill the audiences' expectations.