×

Spain shocked by tax hike

8% to 21% rise threatens further B.O. decline

MADRID — In a shock move, the Spanish government announced Friday a dramatic hike on cinema ticket tax from 8% to 21% of sales.

Legit productions and digital TV services suffer the same increase.

Compounding a 12% first-half drop in theater box office, the tax increase looks set to punish still further one of Europe’s most crisis-ravaged movie markets.

Its impact will be felt not only by Spain’s exhibition sector but also in B.O. takings on foreign films — studio and indie alike — plus prices paid by indie distributors on pick-ups for Spain.

The value-added-tax increase lies at the core of a Euros 56 billion ($68.4 million) austerity drive as Spain’s government battles to justify a $121 billion bail-out of its banking sector.

Spain’s Fece exhibition sector were expecting mid-week an 8% to 10% VAT rise.

Reacting with anger to the 8%-21% hike, Juan Ramon Gomez Fabra, prexy of Fece, Spain’s theater owners association, called it a “grave management error,” damaging exhibitors, producers, distributors and actors.

Popular on Variety

The drastic tax hike compounds Spanish exhibition problems. Total box office grosses, $769.3 million in 2011, have broadly held over the last decade.

But admissions, which determine concessions, plunged from 2001’s peak of 146.8 million to 98.3 million last year, as ticket prices climbed from $5.2 to $7.9.

One reaction may be concerted industry action.

“We fully sympathize with production and exhibition sector reactions to the 8% -to -21% hike and fully support an industry-wide solution,” said Pablo Nogueroles, managing director, Warner Bros. Pictures Intl. Espana.

Possible solutions include ticket price drops, which exhibitors would decide, producers, distributors and cinemas sharing the tax rise hit, or an public awareness campaign to lure back cinemagoers.

Nogueroles also struck out at “slow” implementation of Spain’s new anti-piracy regime, which targets rogue websites.

More Film

  • The Invisible Man

    Elisabeth Moss in 'The Invisible Man': Film Review

    These days, the horror-fantasy thriller tends to be a junk metaphysical spook show that throws a whole lot of scary clutter at the audience — ghosts, “demons,” mad killers — without necessarily adding up to an experience that’s about anything. But in “The Invisible Man,” Leigh Whannell’s ingenious and entertaining update of a concept that’s [...]

  • Nora Arnezeder

    Berlin: Wide's Thriller 'Blast' Sold to Japan, Latin America at the EFM (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Blast,” a high-concept thriller produced and represented in international markets by Paris-based company Wide, has sold to several territories at the EFM in Berlin. Vanya Peirani-Vignes’ feature debut, “Blast” takes place Parisian parking lot where Sonia finds herself trapped in her car with her son while her boyfriend’s daughter has been left outside to deal [...]

  • digger

    Greek Director Grigorakis Saddles up 'Western' 'Digger' at Berlin

    For a feature debut that he describes as a contemporary Western, Greek director Georgis Grigorakis settled on a familiar archetype — “a lonely guy with his horse, with his shotgun” — who, in keeping with the genre’s conventions, is drawn into a confrontation and is prepared to fight to the bitter end in the defense [...]

  • North Macedonian directors Ljubo Stefanov (R)

    Berlin: 'Honeyland' Directors Prepping New Projects (EXCLUSIVE)

    Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov, the Macedonian directors of the dual Oscar-nominated documentary “Honeyland,” are prepping several new projects, Variety has learned exclusively. The directing duo are looking to build on the success of their debut, a moving portrait of a lone beekeeper struggling to preserve a traditional way of life, which was nominated for [...]

  • David-Casademunt-and-Joaquin

    Rodar y Rodar Boards “The Beast” (EXCLUSIVE)

    Barcelona-based Rodar y Rodar, producer of Spanish horror titles such as J.A. Bayona’s “The Orphanage” and Oriol Paulo’s “The Body, has thrown its weight behind David Casademunt’s “The Beast,” boarding it as its main producer. “The Beast,” which participated in Filmarket Hub’s 2017 Sitges Pitchbox event as well as Ventana Sur’s 2017 Blood Window, it [...]

  • Bad Tales

    Italy's Pepito Prods. Shines With 'Bad Tales' (EXCLUSIVE) Trailer

    Italy’s Pepito Prods., at Berlin with competition drama “Bad Tales” by Damiano and Fabio D’Innocenzo, is emerging as a new home for the country’s auteurs.  The company, headed by former RAI head of drama Agostino Saccà in January, scored more than $6 million in Italian cinemas with veteran Gianni Amelio’s “Hammamet,” a biopic of disgraced [...]

  • La Belle Époque

    France's Les Films du Kiosque Board Nicolas Bedos', Mabrouk El Mechri's Next Films (EXCLUSIVE)

    Les Films du Kiosque, the Paris-based production company behind Nicolas Bedos’ Cannes-premiering “La Belle Epoque” and Netflix’ hit original “Family Business,” is set to reteam with Bedos on “Masquarade,” and will produce Mabrouk El Mechri’s “Kung Fu Zohra.” El Mechri’s film follows Zohra, a young cashier from the suburbs who is being physically abused by [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content