U.S. films nab 71% market share this year

MADRID — Spain’s 2002 box office takings and admissions could be down from last year’s results.

According to figures presented Friday by the ICAA Spanish Film Institute, B.O. for 2002 through Dec. 8 stood at l537.6 million ($537.6 million) and 120.7 million admissions.

That contrasts to full-year results for 2001 of $616.4 million at the B.O. and 146.8 cinema tickets sold.

U.S. films have taken a 71% market share this year, up from 62% in 2001. Market share for Spanish pics dropped to 14% from 18% in 2001, which was an exceptional year, boasting Spain’s first blockbusters since the 1960s: “The Others” and “Torrente 2: Mission in Marbella.”

“The Wrong Side of the Bed” will be Spanish cinema’s biggest hit of the year with a $11 million gross. The big question about U.S. pics is whether either “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” or “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” will surpass “Spider-Man” ($22.1 million, per the ICAA) before the year is out.

Twentieth Century Fox currently tops distribbers with $91 million, followed by WB-Sogecable combo Warner Sogefilms ($81 million), Columbia TriStar ($75.8 million), Disney ($71 million) and UIP ($54 million). Lauren ($29.1 million) and TriPictures ($27.5 million) lead independent distributors, though both will be beaten by Aurum ($26.5 million), which handles “The Two Towers,” which opened Wednesday.

The stats also reveal that distribbers are front-loading pics with increasing ferocity. In 2001 nine movies went out on 300-plus print runs, but that number was up to 23 in 2002.

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