Spanish Box Office Holds, Edging Down Just 0.7% in 2017

Hollywood family entertainment, distinctive Spanish comedies, lower-priced tickets bulwark attendance

MADRID — Marking continued recovery after its withering double-dip 2008-13 economic recession, Spain punched a fourth year of improved results at its box office after a recent 2013 trough, total box office grosses coming in at €597 million ($668.6 million), 0.7% down on 2016, according to a ComScore report, published Tuesday.

Total admissions came in at 99.7 million, 0.5% down on 2016’s result.

“Without such potent pictures as 2016, the results are still pretty positive, said David Rodríguez, managing director, comScore Spain.

“But these days you notice the lack of a really strong Spanish title, and though ‘Tadeo Jones 2’ performed very well indeed, it still fell short of 2016’s ‘A Monster Calls,’” Rodriguez added.”

“2017 began strongly, up on 2016, but summer was weak and autumn saw the best fall weather of the century and a political crisis in Catalonia,” said Arturo Guillen, ComScore VP, Europe, Middle East, Africa.

“All in all, this has been a plateau year with strong fundamentals to maintain solid growth in next years,” Guillén added.

The same factors continue to drive Spain’s larger-picture recovery: More accessibly-priced cinema tickets, with the number of cut-price Fiestas del Cine mini-promotion seasons rising to two in 2014; the emergence of local blockbusters, a phenomenon initiated with “Spanish Affair,” in 2014, said Rodríguez.

Kinepolis has introduced 4DX screens, Yelmo, owned by Mexico’s Cinepolis, luxury venues, but their market impact of both is minimal.

So its titles, not structural reform, that determine Spain’s box office. 2017 will go down in history as the year of triumph of barnstorming Hollywood family movies – “Beauty and the Beast,” “Despicable Me 3,” and “Boss Baby” all made the top six places – “Tadeo,” the nearest Spain has to a surefire franchise these days – and Alex de la Iglesia.

Directed by Enrique Gato, from a screenplay by Javier Barreira, Neil Landau and Jordo Gasull, “Tadeo Jones 2” once more turns on a romantic comedy adventure led by chinless Chicago bricklayer Tad, an engagingly normal Joe amateur adventurer-archeologist and kind of cack-handed Indiana Jones. Movie forms part of a two-pic worldwide distribution deal closed by Paramount.

Twinning U.S. genre beats with a bathetic Spanish reality, De la Iglesia has always been one of the most audience friendly of young auteurs who broke through in the mid-to-late 1990s. None of his movies have done so well, however, as “Perfectos Desconocidos,” a withering look at middle-class ethical spinelessness which played out the year punching €13.0 million ($14.5 million) in Spain.

As in France, Spanish comedies are also broadening in range. “Tadeo Jones 2” employs slapstick, “Perfectos Desconocidos” acid social satire, “Es por tu bien,” at No. 14 overall, is an amiable family caricature as three dads ganging together to take their daughters’ appalling boyfriends out of the picture.

On the downside, Spain’s box office remains hobbled by the underperformance of most Hollywood super hero movies. Down the centuries, from “The Quixote,” Spaniards have shown a healthy distrust for any kind of supposed hero. Grossing $8.3 million in Spain, “Wonder Woman” didn’t even make the country’s top 20 last year.

SPAIN TOP TEN BOX OFFICE HITS, 2017 

1.”Beauty and the Beast,” Disney, 3.7 million, €21.9 million ($24.5 million)

2. “Despicable Me 3,” UPI, 3.6 million, €20.5 million ($22.9 million)

3. “Tadeo Jones 2,” Paramount, 3.1 million, €17.5 million ($19.6 million)

4. “Star Wars, The Last Jedi,” Disney, 2.6 million, €16.7 million ($18.7 million)

5. “Fast & Furious 8,” UPI, 2.2 million, €13.5 million ($15.1 million)

6. “La La Land,” UPI, 2.2 million, €13.4 million ($15.0 million)

7. “Boss Baby,” Fox, 2.3 million, €13.1 million ($14.6 million)

8. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge,” Disney, 2.2 million, €13.0 million ($14.5 million)

9. “Perfectos desconocidos,” UPI, 2.0 million, €13.0 million ($14.5 million)

10. “Fifty Shades Darker.” UPI, 2.1 million, €12.9 million ($14.4 million)

TOP TEN SPANISH HITS, 2017

1.”Tadeo Jones 2,” Paramount, 3.1 million, €17.5 million ($19.6 million)

2.”Perfectos Desconocidos,” UPI, 2.0 million, €13.0 million ($14.5 million)

3.”Es por tu bien,” Disney, 1.55 million, €9.5 million ($10.7 million)

4.”Marrowbone,” Universal, 1.2 million, €7.2 million ($8.1 million)

5.”Señor, dame paciencia,” 1.1 million, Warner Bros. €6.6 million ($7.4 million)

6.“Toc toc,” Warner Bros., 1.0 million, €6.0 million ($6.8 million)

7.”Contratiempo,” Warner Bros., 552,946, €3.6 million ($4.1 million)

8.”The Invisible Guardian,” DeAPlaneta, 583, 819, €3.6 million ($4.0 million)

9.”Veronica,” Sony Pictures, 608,895, €3.5 million ($3.9 million)

10. “The Bar” Sony Pictures, 474,517, €2.9 million ($3.2 million)

Source: Comscore, €1=$1.12

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