×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mexican Movies Show Broader Success in 2014

Bereft of local blockbusters, total Mexican B.O. edged down to 11.25 billion pesos ($725.3 million) last year

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Mexican films held onto double-digit market share in 2014, taking 10% of ticket purchases, with eight local films selling more than a million tickets each.

Mexico’s box office pulled in a total of 11.237 billion pesos ($725.3 million) in 2014, 5% down from the 11.860 billion pesos ($765.6 million, in current currency terms) taken in 2013 when Mexico’s market share hit 12%, ignited by heartwarmers “We Are the Nobles” and the very boffo “Instructions Not Included,” which together represented 22 million of the 30 million tickets sold that year.

Last year’s s bottom line was that it showed broader success for Mexico’s industry, if local fare lacked box office breakout smashes.

Last year’s top domestic grosser was Luis Estrada’s politically charged dark comedy “The Perfect Dictatorship,” which bowed in October to win 189.2 million pesos ($12.2 million), putting it at No. 4 in the all-time take for a Mexican film, with runner-up Marco Polo Constandse’s romcom “Marry If You Can” reaching the No. 6 spot with 168.3 million pesos ($10.9 million).

Speaking at the presentation of the 2014 film industry stat almanac at the Guadalajara Festival, which kicked off Friday, Jorge Sanchez, the head of Mexico’s Imcine film institute, hailed the recent success in expanding production, with 130 films produced in 2014, up from 126 in 2013, a tally beaten only once by the 135 films made here in 1959 — toward the close of Mexico’s so-called “Golden Age.”

Popular on Variety

A panel Sunday credited cheaper technology for helping driving average production costs down to $1.5 million per pic last year, the lowest pricetag in five years.

Despite the higher number of productions, the average number of tickets sold for Mexican films rose to 352,000 viewers per picture from 298,000 in 2013, a 20% increase. The average ticket price hit 47 pesos in 2014, about $3 a pop.

“No doubt about it, this is a good moment for Mexican cinema,” said Sanchez. “We are taking advantage of digital platforms, but we can’t put aside our duty to produce films,” he added, observing that as a subsidized industry it is the responsibility of filmmakers and producers to offer a quality return on the taxpayers’ investment.

“But above all, we must resolve the problem of accessibility,” added Sanchez, urging legislative action to force distribs and exhibs to offer improved rollouts for Mexican fare, without offering specifics.

The number of releases in 2014 fell to 68 from 101 in 2013 – which explains the higher average box office of titles — as exhibs and distribs shied from betting on domestic fare.

Sanchez lamented the lack of access to Mexican films for many here, pointing to the industry’s inability to bring quality product to commercial release, or, once on the calendar, lacking funds for P & A, citing Ernesto Contreras’ “Las Oscuras Primaveras” (The Dark Springs) and its failure to gain an audience as “truly criminal.”

While 54% of Mexican releases lacked a paid media rollout in 2013, 62% lacked a major media campaign in 2014 — relying mostly on social media to get word-of-mouth rolling.

Sanchez’s career as Imcine prexy has been marked by efforts to integrate Mexican films into the nation’s educational system, and at the panel Sunday, he told a packed press room that CinemaMexico, a program bringing Mexican films to public libraries with a 180-pic domestic canon, will expand from its pilot program in Michoacan state — home to Morelia — to seven states.

He also offered a preview for Filmin Latino (http://www.filminlatino.mx), a joint venture between Imcine and Spanish Internet-based content platform Filmin, to be formally announced April 21,  set to bring nearly 800 films — mostly from Mexico and Spain — to online auds.

The almanac offered a few key insights in the local production-distribution market:

*Talent is deeper; for the first time in five years there were more second- and third-projects than first-time efforts.

*Small players are feeling an expanded arthouse market, with alt-circuit “cineclubes” growing to 380 in 2014 from 300 nationwide year-to-year.

* Mexico’s Oscar entry, and the second highest-grossing foreign-language movie in the U.S. last year, ”Cantinflas” (pictured) had the broadest digital platform rollout of any film in Mexican history.

*Mexico has expanded from 10 film festivals in 2000 to 100

With mega-conglom Televisa recently announcing it has passed the 10-million-feevee-subscriber mark, it’s welcome news to see Mexican fare blowing up on the smallscreen.

Co-productions grew in scope and size in 2014, in total 26 or 20% of all prods last year, up 5 percentage points from 2013, with ties to 19 countries — 10 projects had three or more nations’ backing.

Of the 5,780 films screening on terrestrial networks, 29% were Mexican. Guadalajara-native Patricia Riggen’s “Under the Same Moon” won top viewership for any film last year, hitting 4.49 million in the audience. On average, domestic viewers watched seven Mexican films on over-the-air TV in 2014.

More Film

  • THE CINEMA' 'FRAILTY AT LAEMMLE' FILM

    Laemmle Theatres Arthouse Chain No Longer Seeking Buyer

    Los Angeles-based arthouse chain Laemmle Theatres has stopped seeking a buyer, four months after putting itself on the sales block amid slow sales. Greg Laemmle, president of the 81-year-old exhibitor, announced the development Thursday. He told Variety that discussions with an unidentified buyer had reached an advanced stage but fell apart and that there has [...]

  • Morgan Freeman Lori McCreary Gary Lucchesi

    Film News Roundup: Morgan Freeman's Revelations Teams With Gary Lucchesi for Production Venture

    In today’s film news roundup, Morgan Freeman, Lori McCreary and Gary Lucchesi are teaming up; Zolee Griggs, Sara Rue and Ed Quinn are cast; and “Clementine” finds a home. JOINT VENTURE Morgan Freeman and Lori McCreary’s Revelations Entertainment is teaming with former Lakeshore Entertainment president Gary Lucchesi for a joint production venture. Lucchesi will develop [...]

  • 'When Lambs Become Lions' Review: A

    Film Review: 'When Lambs Become Lions'

    “For us, ivory is worthless unless it is on our elephants,” says Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta in a televised statement, shortly before several vast hauls of severed elephant tusks — ornately piled like sacred shrines — is ceremoniously set ablaze. It’s a confiscated collection that, Kenyatta tells his audience, is worth $150 million, literally going [...]

  • 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 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content