Strong economy, '14 World Cup help boost city's profile
Brazil, and Rio de Janeiro in particular, seem to be finding their place on the international film scene.Playing off the exotic locations featured in Blue Sky animated feature “Rio,” Fox scheduled the toon’s world premiere and press junket in Rio in March, luring Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg and Jamie Foxx to the city. A few weeks later, Universal hosted the world premiere and junket for Justin Lin’s “Fast Five” in April, attracting nearly 400 people from abroad to Rio, including Universal execs, cast, producers, crew and foreign journalists — a natural choice since the fifth installment in the “Fast and the Furious” franchise was set and partially lensed in Rio. Next in line will likely be “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1.” Since novelist Stephenie Meyer set Bella and Edward’s honeymoon in Brazil, the producers decided to film in the capital. City officials are hoping the filmmakers will agree to preem the finished pic in Rio next November. “Virtually every day I hear of a new film project considering filming here. Most are small, but some are interesting films,” says Sergio Sa Leitao, president of Brazilian film investing agency RioFilme and co-creator of the Rio Film Commission. “We are currently negotiating with the producers of ‘The Samaritan,’ starring Samuel L. Jackson, and ‘The Blind Bastard Club,’ with Lenny Kravitz. Brazil is definitely on the map.” There are two main reasons for such international visibility. First, Brazil will soon host two of the largest sports events in the world: In 2014, FIFA’s Soccer World Cup is set to hold the final match in Rio’s Maracana stadium, and in 2016, the city will host the Summer Olympics. Perhaps even more important, however, the country’s economy is strong. Brazil has become an economic power as its GDP reached $2.1 trillion in 2010, a 7.5% increase from the previous year, passing Italy to boast the globe’s seventh-largest GDP. Wealth is not only growing, but is actually being distributed (though the social gap continues to widen), allowing millions of poor families to join the middle class in recent years. With better quality of life comes cash to spare on movie tickets: Brazil’s total B.O. increased 29.9% in 2010, reaching $759 million. Though many doubted the market would continue to expand this year, the total B.O. rose 15.7% in Q1 of 2011 over last year. “The film industry in Brazil is in its best moment in history. Box office, admissions, the screen count and the average ticket price are growing, as well as the government’s incentives to local productions,” says helmer Paulo Sergio Almeida, publisher of the Filme B e-newsletter. “It seems to be a sustainable growth.” Another factor attracting international players to the Brazilian market is the fact the local currency, the real, is increasingly strong, meaning local gains translate into more dollars. From April 2009 to April 2011, the real appreciated 27% in relation to the U.S. dollar.
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