Big dreams for modest player

Spain's stats draws mixed conclusions

Spain continues to punch far above its weight as a movie market, but it’s a Euro middleweight in production terms.

Sales revenues from Spain going to IFTA members — the world’s indies — were almost at levels of returns from France (91%) and the U.K. (92%).

As a film production force, total Spanish movie investment in 2003 (the latest year for which estimates are available) crawled in at 14% of the U.K.’s and 31% of France’s, though it was 53% of Germany’s and 82% of Italy’s.

That draws mixed conclusions.

Spain’s modest industry size could be put down to its diffident economy. Per the Economist magazine, Spanish gross domestic product for 2004 will come in at 48% of the U.K.’s, 49% of France’s, 37% of Germany’s and 58% of Italy’s.

In other words, the Spanish film industry is a minnow compared with Europe’s two big pikes — Britain and France. But, despite many putdowns, in relative terms, it’s in fact larger than Germany’s and Italy’s.

Not many neutral observers in Europe would use Germany or Italy as benchmarks of what constitutes a healthy film industry, since Italy has been hamstrung by subsidy problems and Germany is in desperate need of tax breaks.

The worst stats are Spain’s market share. Homegrown films don’t draw: Spanish films take a lower percentage of market share in Spain than French films do in France, and German films do in Germany, etc.

Yet outside France and Italy, domestic market share is highly volatile. For example, U.K. share depends on tentpoles such as “Harry Potter.” The Spanish industry hopes that vibrant B.O. figures will be posted by a gamut of mainstream and crossover bets set for the summer and onward.

Spain by the numbers

2004 GDP
Germany: $2.5 trillion
U.K.: $1.93 trillion
France: $1.91 trillion
Italy: $1.6 trillion
Spain: $0.9 trillion

2004 admissions
France: 194 million (+11%)
U.K.: 171 million (+2%)
Germany: 151 million (+7%)
Spain: 144 million (+5%)
Italy: 125 million (+15%)

2004 box office
U.K.: $1.5 billion (+4%)
France: $1.1 billion (+11%)
Germany: $1.1 billion (+7%)
Italy: $910 million (+12%)
Spain: $887 million (+8%)

Market sales, IFTA membership (2003)
Germany and Austria: $417 million
France: $223 million
U.K.: $220 million
Spain: $202 million
Italy: $166 million

Market sales, MPAA membership (2003)
U.K.: $3 billion
Germany: $1.7 billion
France: $1.5 billion
Spain: $1.1 billion
Italy: $839 million

Nantional pic market share (2003-2004)
France: 34.8%-39%
Germany: 17.5%-23.8%
U.K.: 14%-22%
Italy: 22%-22%
Spain: 15.8%-13.4%

National films produced (including co-produtions) 2004
France: 203
U.K.: 132
Spain: 125
Germany: 121
Italy: 96

U.K.: 85
France: 73
Spain: 41
Italy: 38
Germany: 27

Total film production investment from local country 2004:
U.K.: $1.5 billion (total U.K. production spend)
France: $1 billion
Germany: $600 million (2003)
Spain: $318 million* (2003)
Italy: $365 million

State aid 2004:
U.K. Film Council: $117 million; others: $25 million. Total: $139 million

CNC: $326 million (cinema provision); others: $14 million.
Total: $340 million

Total: $122 million

ICAA: $42 million (does not include extraordinary bail-out); regional film/TV funds (Catalonia/Galicia/Valencia): $14 mil-lion.
Total: $57 million

Average budget, 2004
U.K.: $8.3 million (totally British film)
France: $7.1 million (French-initiative films)
Germany: $5.1 million (2003)
Spain: $2.7 million (totally Spanish film); $5.4 million (international co-productions)*
Italy: $2.7 million (average Italian investment)

Highest-grossing national pic:
Germany: “Spaceship Surprise” $65.7 million
U.K.: “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” $67.6 million
France: “Les Choristes” $63.2 million
Spain: “The Sea Inside” $24.8 million
Italy: “Don’t Move” $11 million

* estimate

$1 = S0.78 euro = £0.53

Source: the Economist, ICAA, Academia, FAPAE, Nielsen EDI, CNC, U.K. Film Council, ANICA, FFA, IFTA, MPAA