Israeli films pass million ticket mark

Domestic cinema has banner year at box office

Israeli cinema crossed a major milestone this year, with Israeli films selling more than 1 million tickets at the box office in the country for only the second time in the last twenty years.

The last time this milestone was crossed was in 2004, when Avi Nesher’s “Turn Left at the End of the World” broke recent records and brought in 450,000 admissions, and “Ushpizin” brought in an additional 200,000. In 2004 just over 1.5 million tickets for Israeli movies were sold, representing 15 percent of all tickets sold that year. It is unlikely that the 1.5 million ticket sales threshold will be matched this year.

The achievement is even more notable given Israel’s population is around 4 million people. Last year’s box office champ “Aviva My Love” brought in 302,000 admissions to beat narrowly “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.”

This year’s highest-grosser will be Pixar-Disney toon “Ratatouille” with 400,000 admissions.

The million tickets mark is further proof of the current strength of Israeli cinema both locally and abroad.

This year, a clutch of Israeli pix have performed well at the local box office, as well as picking up a number of awards at intl. film fests.

Top-grossing Israeli films for 2007:

1. “Beaufort” (director: Joseph Cedar): 300,000 admissions

2. “The Secrets” (director: Avi Nesher): 208,000 admissions

3. “The Band’s Visit” (director: Eran Kolirin): 193,000 admissions

4. “Noodle” (director: Ayelet Menahemi): 190,000 admissions

5. “Jellyfish” (directors: Etgar Keret & Shira Geffen): 70,000 admissions

6. “My Father, My Lord” (director: David Volach): 55,000 admissions

Two recent releases, “Lost & Found” and “The Debt”, are not yet tallied and should add, combined, about 100,000 more admissions to the total sum, taking 2007’s take to 1.3 million tickets.

The four top-grossing movies on the list were all distributed by Moshe Edri’s United King, who also produced and co-financed “Beaufort” and “The Secrets.”

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