Box office take hits high note

MADRID — Confirming a bumper year for U.S. movies released day-and-date in Spain, total 2004 admissions jumped 6% to 139.7 million, according to Nielsen EDI Spain. B.O. skyrocketed 10% to E681.2 million ($889.6 million).

The year’s ticket sales ended two years of declining admissions in Spain.

“The principle reason for the reversal is the large success of movies that came out on huge first-weekend print runs near to their U.S. bows,” said Nielsen EDI Spain managing director Jose Manuel Pimienta.

These were led by “Shrek 2″ ($37.2 million), “Troy” ($26.5 million), “The Last Samurai” ($24 million) and “The Incredibles” ($22.5 million).

The only local film to make Spain’s top 10 was Alejandro Amenabar’s Javier Bardem starrer “The Sea Inside” (Mar adentro), with $24.7 million.

U.S. studios’ combined market share — including Warner Sogefilms, a joint venture with Spain’s Sogecable — rose from 73.3% in 2003 to 80.4% last year. This increase also reflects the absence of a “Lord of the Rings” pic, which was distribbed by indie Aurum.

Spanish films’ local market share looks likely to come in at just over 13%, down from 15.8% in 2003.

Top-grossing distrib in Spain was Buena Vista Intl., with a 20.4% market share, besting Warner Sogefilms (19.5%), UIP (18.2%), Fox (11.8%), Columbia TriStar (10.5%), Aurum (5.6%), Filmax (3.1%), Alta Films (2.3%), TriPictures (2.1%), and Manga and DeAPlaneta (1.3% a piece).

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