B.O. flattens after 14-year growth spurt

Multiplex construction doesn't result in admission expansion

MADRID — B.O. is languishing in Spain. According to Nielsen EDI, total 2003 B.O. through Oct. 2 dropped 0.2% to E436.6 million ($513.6 million) compared to the same period a year earlier. Admissions were down 3.6% to 93.7 million.

For Spain, this looks like more than a blip. The stats point to the end of an era after 14 years of continuous year-on-year admissions growth beginning in 1988. Multiplexing drove that surge. It continues apace: Some 750 new screens will bow in the next two years.

But new construction is merely halting a severe admissions decline rather than powering growth. Per-screen-averages are nosediving, to exhibs’ dismay. “After a strong start to the year, most of the major European territories, particularly Germany and the U.K., have had a poor summer, resulting in a decline in year-on-year admissions,” says Dodona Research’s Katharine Wright.

Spain at least bucked the 2003 summer heatwave B.O. crash: It has a heatwave every summer and is prepared with air-conditioned theaters. Admissions in Spain aren’t off as much as in the U.K. (down 10% in admissions through August), France (underperforming 5.6% through September) or Germany (down 11% through September).

“As European markets mature, exhibitors are ever more reliant on a succession of blockbusters to keep admissions on an upward trend,” Wright says. By that count, despite rampant new construction, Spanish market is now semi-mature. Spain’s B.O. stagnation is basically due to a lack of big hitters, insists Ricardo Gil, UCI marketing director, Spain/Portugal.

“Films have been weak this year,” agrees Willem de Vidts, general business director at Kinepolis Spain. Late-year prospects hardly enthuse, though “The Matrix Revolutions” and “Finding Nemo” may compensate for the lack of a holiday “Harry Potter” pic. Spanish cinema will need holiday toon pics “El Cid” and “The 3 Wise Men” to fire well to equal last year’s B.O. All in all, however, expect so-so 2003 B.O. in Spain.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety