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Boffo B.O. for locals uncovers challenges

Biz targets weak spots to grab bigger share

The Madrid de Cine-Spanish Film Screenings have become a hub of film industry debate and a great chance to take the pulse of local business.

Film and TV revenues may be down in many places, but Spanish B.O. enjoyed a boom last year, local pics included.

Driven by “Planet 51,” “Agora” and “Cell 211,” Spanish movies grossed ?104.4 million ($135 million) in 2009, up 28%.

Local pics’ market share was 15.5% vs. 13.2% in 2008.

“The public came to see our movies more than ever,” says Alex de la Iglesia, prexy of Spain’s Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences.

But challenges remain. “We’ll start to be satisfied when our market quota reaches 25%, as in neighboring European countries,” says Pedro Perez, prexy of Spain’s producers association FAPAE.

One sign of softness is that many Spanish producers plan to produce fewer films with major theatrical ambition, as the country’s growing P&A costs rise.

“We need to strengthen the industry, so we can make better films,” says De la Iglesia, who godfathered 2009’s Madrid de Cine edition.

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