You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Catalan film theaters go on strike

Exhibitors protest against language quotas

BARCELONA — More than 70% of cinema screens in Catalonia, one of the richest regions in Spain, were dark Monday as exhibitors staged a one-day strike in protest against the regional government’s move to force them to screen more films in the Catalan language.

According to the Catalan Exhibbers Guild, 76 theaters — repping 570 screens — will be on strike Monday.

Cinema loops are protesting Article 18 of a wide-ranging Catalan Audiovisual Bill that obliges half a film’s print-run to be dubbed or sub-titled into Catalan for their release in Catalonia. Ruling does not apply to small print runs of 16 copies or below on European movies.

The measure is expected to drive up P&A costs for leading distribs, especially the Hollywood majors.

But there’s a long way to go, and a lot of hard-bargaining, before the bill, currently hitting the Catalan parliament, finally makes it onto the statute books.

The new regs hardly came as a surprise — Catalonia’s culture ministry is run by the Catalan ERC nationalist party — but they’ve still caused a storm.

“We support the Catalan language but not with quotas or taxes,” Catalan Exhibbers Guild general secretary Pilar Sierra told i>Variety/i>.

According to Catalan government sources, just 2.9% of the foreign films released in Catalonia were dubbed or subtitled in Catalan, versus 97.1% in Spanish.

Exhibbers argue that’s because spectators largely want to see movies in Spanish.

Not true, says the government.

“Currently, the film offer doesn’t match the real demand. Catalan-language pubcaster TVC has an 18%-20% market share, and seven Spanish-language TV stations air in Catalonia,” said Xavier Parache, film-audiovisual finance director at its regional film board, the Catalan Institute of Cultural Industries.

Introduction of the language quotas will be staggered over five years; the digitalization of cinemas and prints will help cinemas target audiences, Parache added.

According to one cinema booker, the main concern for distributors is a domino effect: Once greenlit in Catalonia, language-quotas could spread to Spain’s Basque Country and Galicia, or other parts of Europe.

The Catalan government has already suffered one historic defeat on film quotas. In 1998, Jordi Pujol, then Catalan government president, announced Catalan dubbing quotas. A Catalan court effectively quashed the measure by nixing fines for quota non-compliance.

More Film

  • Shannon Hoon

    Live Nation Productions Boards Danny Clinch-Helmed Blind Melon Doc 'All I Can Say'

    Live Nation Productions and Double E Entertainment have signed on as executive producers of “All I Can Say,” the documentary film featuring footage shot entirely by the late Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon. The film’s title is taken from the opening lines of Blind Melon’s instantly recognizable 1993 smash, “No Rain.” Culled from Hoon’s archives, the [...]

  • Tom Hanks stars as Mister Rogers

    How Mr. Rogers Influenced the Pacing of 'A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood'

    Fred Rogers was an icon to many. Everyone who met him and knew him says, “He really was like that.” He spoke in a soft voice and he was kind. He believed in doing good to others. He spoke to children in “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” in a soft voice, helping them to process complicated emotions [...]

  • Dowdle Brothers

    The Dowdle Brothers Tackle New 'Friday Night Lights' Movie (EXCLUSIVE)

    John Erick and Drew Dowdle, aka the Dowdle brothers, have boarded Universal Pictures’ reimagining of “Friday Night Lights.” Both will do a polish on the script, with John Erick directing and Drew exec producing. Sources tell Variety that the movie is not a sequel to Universal’s 2004 film starring Billy Bob Thornton, nor is it [...]

  • Roman Polanski's Accuser Reached Out to

    Roman Polanski's New Accuser Reached Out to L.A. Prosecutors in Early 2017

    Valentine Monnier, the former actor who recently went public with her accusation that Roman Polanski raped her 44 years ago, sent an anonymous letter to L.A. prosecutors in early 2017 detailing those allegations, sources tell Variety. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office has confirmed that it received such a letter in February 2017 and [...]

  • Tomas Davison

    MGM Studios Exec Tomas Davison Dies at 43

    MGM Studios executive Tomas Davison died on Nov. 16 in Miami. He was 43. The cause of his death is still pending. Davison joined the studio over a year ago where he was tapped for the position of senior VP of international television distribution Latin America and U.S. Hispanic. During his time at the studio, [...]

  • Hello Ahma

    SGIFF: Shorts Panorama Highlights Breadth of Singapore Talent

    It didn’t take long for the shorts programme that is part of the Singapore International Film Festival’s Singapore Panorama strand at the National Museum of Singapore on Nov. 27 to sell out. That is because the Singaporean audience is well aware that the best and brightest of filmmaking talent from the country cut their teeth [...]

  • Harriet Tubman Cynthia Erivo

    AMC Theatres Fires Three Employees Over Racial Profiling Incident During 'Harriet' Screening

    AMC Theatres has fired three employees in one of its Louisiana multiplexes after an incident during a screening of “Harriet.” An African American women’s group called the 504 Queens allege that 15 members were racially profiled while watching “Harriet” at AMC’s Clearview Palace 12 in Metairie on Nov. 7. A letter sent from the organization’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content