Annual figure below five-year average

MADRID — For the fourth time in the last five years, U.S. movies’ market share in Spain for 2003 was significantly down from American movies’ glory-days results in the mid to late ’90s.

According to provisional stats from the ICAA Spanish film institute, U.S. pics’ Spanish market share increased slightly from 66.1% in 2002 to 67.3% last year.

The 2003 figure may edge up slightly when the ICAA publishes full figures for the year, probably in March.

Whatever the final stat, it is likely, however, to be on par with U.S.’ films average market share over the last five years (68.5%, 1999-2003), and down from the median U.S. share of 74.3% recorded from 1994-98.

U.S. distribs should not be too worried by this decline, however.

U.S. films are, of course, taking a slightly smaller slice of a far larger cake: Total B.O. in Spain has more than doubled from E261.7 million in 1994 to E635.2 million ($816.9 million) last year, by ICAA’s provisional count.

The dollar’s slump against the Euro has made Spanish returns far more valuable for U.S. coffers.

And, via distribution or co-production gigs with many of Spain’s top producers and directors, the U.S. majors are benefiting from a mini-revival by local films.

Per the ICAA’s provisional estimate, Spanish films’ market share for 2003 was 15.8%, up from 13.7% in 2002.

Local pics’ average market share from 1999 to 2003 stands at 14.3%, up from 10.7%, 1994-98, and 9.3%, 1989-1993.

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