RIO DE JANEIRO — The government’s National Cinema Agency (Ancine) announced it will partially subsidize the cost of tickets for local pics in November, in an effort to boost local B.O.

The agency will invest as much as 2 million reais ($1 million) in the pioneering program by giving exhibitors $1 per local pic ticket sold from Monday to Thursday. Exhibitors can charge a maximum of $2 per ticket.

The program will take place Nov. 10-13 and Nov. 17-20 and may be extended to the following weeks until the $1 million is distributed.

Brazil offers several incentives for pic production, but this is the first time it has introduced a direct subsidy for exhibitors.

Local pics’ market share was just 8.5% in January-September, down from 9.5% in the same period last year.

Ancine president Manoel Rangel said all exhibitors operating in Brazil have joined the program and top local nets, including TV Globo, TV Record, TV Bandeirantes and MTV Brasil, air free commercials publicizing the campaign.

“This campaign is part of a larger effort to draw to theaters Brazilians from the C and D classes, which represent about 50% of the country’s population. Research shows these lower demographics are responsible for Brazil’s ongoing economic growth process. But local films are not benefiting from the overall economic expansion,” Rangel said.

He added the effort includes two other programs. The Cinema Voucher, which is due to be launched in the second half of 2009, will subsidize theater tickets for blue-collar workers. The other program comprises a series of changes and additions to existing film industry incentives that are meant to stimulate the construction of theaters in small towns and low-income neighborhoods of cities.

Brazil is one of the most underscreened countries in the world, as it has about 2,200 screens serving a population of 190 million.