Take up 30% boosted by 3D, growing middle class

RIO DE JANEIRO — The Brazilian box office for 2010 was 1.26 billion real ($759 million), up 30% on 2009, the highest amount since the introduction of the new real currency in 1994.

Attendance was up 19.5% to 134.8 million, the best performance since 1981.

Analysts attribute the B.O. rise to the 3D boom and a combination of a strong economy (Brazil’s gross domestic product grew about 7.5% in 2010) and social programs that led to the expansion of the middle class, many with coin to spare for the movies.

Both U.S. and local pics performed well.

3D films snagged $147.4 million of the take in 2010, up 230.7%, thanks to the expansion in screen numbers from 97 in January 2010 to 262 at year-end. The 3D market share rose to 19.4% in 2010, from just 7.6% the previous year.

Hollywood 3D offerings “Avatar,” “Shrek Forever After,” “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” and “Alice in Wonderland” pushed the performance of foreign films, whose total B.O. increased by 23.3%.

The total B.O. of Brazilian pics surged 71.7%, grabbing a 17.9% market share, up on the 13.5% share in 2009.

The top local earner was Jose Padilha’s “Elite Squad 2,” which sold 11 million tickets, the highest admission for a homegrown pic since 1970, when Brazil started to keep reliable film statistics.

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