Just over three months out from the end of 2014, and driven by Mediaset Espana’s pics “Spanish Affaires” and “El Nino,” Spanish films are on the way to blast past an all-time yearly record at the local box office, after scoring a 23.6% market share through Sept. 21.
Upcoming titles in the fall include Alberto Rodriguez’s San Sebastian competitor “Marshland,” Santiago Segura’s “Torrente 5,” Jaume Balaguero’s “Rec 4: Apocalypse” and Javier Fesser’s “Mortadelo y Filemon Contra Jimmy el Cachondo.” Together, they could boost local pics’ box office to 25% share by year end, said producers lobby Fapae VP Joxe Portela at Fapae’s traditional press conference at the San Sebastian Festival.
“We managed to get Spaniards back to the cinema to see the films we produce,” said Fapae prexy Ramon Colom, arguing that “popular and commercial films are not incompatible with quality.”
Main driver behind the Spanish pics’ slice of the B.O. cake was Emilio Martinez Lazaro’s comedy “Spanish Affaire,” which reached a stratospheric $73.9 million B.O.; Daniel Monzon’s thriller “El Nino” gathered $15.3 million, and counting.
“This is a very important figure, even more given the deep cut in film subsidies made by the Spanish government,” Portela added.
While Spanish pics break records, the local film industry is languishing thanks to less and uncertain state financing: the average budget of a Spanish film plunged 50% for the period 2009-2014 to $2 million.
However, Spanish government has finally greenlit the payment to local film producers of $43.5 million of the total $50.6 million for the automatic subsidies for 2012’s film releases, owed from last March. It also has commited to search and pay the remaining $6.5 million-$7.8 million, Colom said.
From next week, producers will start to negotiate with Spain’s Ministry of Culture how to tap into subsidies still owed while ushering in a new financing model that pays part of state subsidies to producers before they go into prodfuction. Colom estimates in $129 million the full subsidies figures owing from 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Ramon Masllorens, prexy of Catalonia’s producers association Proa explained that an upcoming Catalan law that will oblige telcos to pay 0,20 centimes for every data line in Catalonia.
The measure which will create a new $26 million-$27.2 million film/TV finance source in Catalonia, adding to the $6.5 million-to-$9 million annual sum already put up by the Catalan Culture department.