Hit can’t raise Brazil

Brazil's '05 B.O. down 16%, ticket sales fell 22%

RIO DE JANEIRO — In 2005, total B.O. in Brazil was down 16% and ticket sales fell 22%, interrupting a series of eight consecutive years of market growth. Analysts attribute the drop to many of the same reasons being tossed about worldwide: lack of strong pics, piracy and competition from other means of entertainment. But rising ticket prices are also seen as a factor.

Local pics had a particularly weak performance with a combined attendance drop of 35%, but Brazilian musical sensation “Two Sons of Francisco” was a bright spot at the top of the list.

B.O. totaled 644 million reais ($275 million) in Brazil in 2005, against 765 million reais in 2004. Local exhibs sold 90 million tickets last year, down from 114 million in the previous year.

Tickets are expensive for the average Brazilian. There was a 7% increase in the average ticket cost in 2005, against a 5.7% annual inflation rate.

Majors had little to celebrate in the territory in 2005, as admissions for foreign pics fell 19% to 79 million tickets, from 98 million in 2004. But the market decrease particularly hit local producers, who saw ticket sales drop from 16.4 million in 2004 to 10.7 million in 2005.

The sole bright spot in the local production sector was “Two Sons.” The biopic of country music duo Zeze Di Camargo & Luciano, directed by Breno Silveira, not only led the overall ranking, a rare feat for a local film, but also broke the 15-year attendance record for a local pic.

Prospects for 2006

Analysts said it is soon to make any estimates for the overall market in 2006. But initial results for January indicate a recovery for the local production sector. Vet helmer Daniel Filho’s “Se eu fosse voce” (If I Were You), which Fox opened Jan. 6, sold more than one million tickets in two week. Marcus Figueiredo’s “Didi, o cacador de tesouros,” a kidpic featuring vet star Renato Aragao that Buena Vista opened on the same day, sold 409,000 tickets in the period. The two pics combined are expected to sell 4 million tickets, which indicate the sector is on its way to breaking last year’s 10.7 million barrier.

One of the highlights for 2006 is Globo Filmes, the theatrical arm of local giant media group Organizacoes Globo, becoming a market leader. Globo Filmes had, since 1998, limited itself to the role of co-producer, but this year it will fully fund two comedies based on TV Globo series: Jose Lavigne’s “Casseta e Planeta,” due to open in September; and Mauricio Farias’ “A Grande Familia” (Big Family), scheduled for a December release. “Globo Filmes will be making these two films without money from the tax incentive systems,” Globo Filmes’ executive director Carlos Eduardo Rodrigues told Variety, adding that local indie distrib Europa Filmes will release the two pics.

In the past years, Globo Filmes consolidated itself as key partner in the commercial success of any production in Brazil. According to Rodrigues, his company usually joins pic projects at script stage with 15% to 25% of the quotas. It provides artistic input for the projects, but the most important contribution is in making available media space in Organizacoes Globo’s TV networks, newspapers and radio stations to publicize the pics.

In 2005, according to Rodrigues, the company’s pics accounted for about 10 million of the total 10.7 million tickets sold. For this year, the exec estimates the attendance of Brazilian pics will rise to about 15 million, of which pics co-produced or produced by Globo Filmes will account for 13 million tickets sold.

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