Local industry rally softens fall

MADRID — Total box office takings in Spain fell 2.7% to Euros628 million ($823 million) in 2011, bucking the upward trend seen in other major European territories this year.

Admissions edged down 2.2% to 95.5 million, according to provisional figures from Rentrak.

Spanish movies’ B.O. rose 24%, hiking their domestic share to 14%.

Whereas Germany and France are on track to record B.O. upticks of up to 4% this year, Spain has been held back by a number of factors.

First, piracy ravages Spain far more than its two Euro-zone peers.

Second, the Spanish economy is in tatters, which has hit consumer spending.

Lastly, the local production biz is far smaller than its counterparts in France or Germany, so the impact on the uplift in the B.O. of local pics is less pronounced than that in the other countries.

“Avatar’s” stellar perf in 2009/2010 made 2011’s figures look poor in comparison, but a strong final quarter has helped offset this, which gives analysts and exhibitors some cause to be upbeat.

“Though it opened in Spain in 2009, ‘Avatar’ grossed €52.2 million ($68.4 million) here in 2010. Given the results for Spain’s first three quarters this year, its final box office is a highly positive result,” said Arturo Guillen, managing director, Rentrak Spain.

Spain’s top grossers were “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1,” distribbed by Aurum, and Santiago Segura’s 3D pic “Torrente 4: Lethal Crisis,” released by Warner Bros. Both pics notched up around $25.7 million.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” ranked third with $24.5 million, and “Tintin” was fourth with $23.6 million.

Warner Bros. was Spain’s top distributor.

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