Due to a combination of total admissions and average ticket price growth and the appreciation of the local currency, Brazil’s theatrical market is becoming increasingly attractive to the majors and other distribs of foreign pics.

The total B.O. in the country soared 156% from $295 million in 2005 to $756 million in 2010. In the period, the total admissions rose from 94 million to 135 million, while the average ticket price increased from $3.15 to $5.60, reflecting the higher 3D ticket price and the real’s appreciation against the dollar.

Hollywood is pocketing the bulk of this coin. In January through July of this year, foreign pics accounted for 87.4% of the total B.O. in Brazil.

“When have foreign distributors made so much money in Brazil? Never,” says Paulo Sergio Almeida, president of local film marketing firm Filme B.

He adds that, in the past, when total admissions were higher than today, the average ticket price was just a fraction of now, pushing the total B.O. down. For instance, in the 1970s, when television was still consolidating its dominance here and most Brazilians went to the movies regularly, the average ticket price ranged from just 33¢ to 63¢ of a dollar.

Patricia Kamitsuji, managing director of Fox Filmes do Brasil, notes that Brazil’s strong economy has given more people more disposable income and helped grow the local box office.

She also says the market is far from being saturated, and is expected to continue to grow. In fact, the total B.O. in January-July rose 20.8% , in relation to the same period last year.

But it’s not just Hollywood that is benefitting. Local indie distrib Paris, for instance, has profited by the output deal it signed with Summit Entertainment in 2007. Summit’s “Twilight” films have brought Paris a tidy box office, including the $32 million “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” grossed in 2010. The fourth pic in the series is set to go out day and date Nov. 18, while the fifth is scheduled for November 2012.

The side effect of the strong Brazilian market performance, says Marcio Fraccaroli, general director of Paris, is a sharp increase on prices of pic rights for Brazil.

“Sellers are trying to compensate their losses in the rest of the world by increasing prices to Brazil and Latin America,” he says. “And it is sad to see that there are too many middlemen in the markets. I have to buy U.S. films from Belgium and Argentine agents, for instance.”

Jorge Peregrino, Paramount’s senior VP for Latin America, adds that the theatrical market is rapidly expanding not only in Brazil but actually in the entire Latin American region. According to his figures, the total B.O. of Latin American countries rose from $1.14 billion in 2005 to $2.2 billion in 2010. In the same period, the total admissions increased from 380 million to 495 million and the total screen count from 8,000 to 10,400. He estimates the total B.O. in the region will reach $2.4 billion to $2.5 billion this year.

“The theatrical market is on the rise Latin America wide. But Brazil is growing more than their neighbors due to their currency appreciation,” Peregrino says.

He adds Brazil passed Mexico last year to become the largest film market in the region, and has managed this year to hold onto this leadership position.

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