Studio accounts for 22.5% of B.O. sales

RIO DE JANEIRO — Fueled by the strong perfs of local productions, Columbia edged out Warner Bros. to lead theatrical distribs in Brazil in 2003, according to a market analysis by local film marketing firm Filme B.

Films distributed by Columbia accounted for 22.5% of the 102.95 million tickets sold in Brazil in 2003. Warner followed with 19.8%, Buena Vista Intl. (BVI) with 16.7%, Fox with 15.5%, United International Pictures (UIP) with 13.2% and local outfit Lumiere with 5.6%. UIP handles the output of Universal, Paramount and DreamWorks in Brazil.

In 2002, Warners was the leader with 25.1% of the total 91.24 million admissions. Columbia ranked second that year, with a 23.6% share; Fox had 13.2%; UIP, 11%; BVI, 10.8%; and Lumiere 6%.

Boffo B.O. by Brazilian pics was key to Columbia’s success in 2003. The studio distributed seven of the top 20 films last year, four of which were Brazilian productions: Hector Babenco’s prison drama “Carandiru” (4.69 million tickets), Moacyr Goes’ “Mary, the Mother of God’s Son” (2.28 million), Paulo Aragao’s “Didi, the Goofy Cupid” (1.75 million), and Carlos Diegues’ “God Is Brazilian” (1.62 million).

Warner and Fox also distributed local pics in 2003, but on a smaller scale than Columbia.

Columbia’s most promising local releases for 2004 are Sandra Werneck’s “Cazuza,” a biography of the deceased popstar, Goes’ “The Apostles,” and a new kidpic based on comedian Renato Aragao’s “Didi” series.

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