Did terrorist bombings and an aborted coup affect box office in Turkey? Actually, those events have not had as strong an impact as one might think, especially not on Hollywood titles.
After taking a more than 50% dip on the weekend of the July 15 coup attempt, moviegoing resumed rather rapidly.
“Box office is back to normal,” says Imre Tezel, who heads arthouse distribution network Another Cinema.
“People are still going to the movies,” agrees Turkish fest programmer and film promoter Ahmet Boyacioglu, who notes that “Suicide Squad” and “Ice Age: Collision Course” are both well over the country’s benchmark of 1 million admissions. Most of the big Turkish blockbusters will instead be opening in the coming months. Expectations are high for the local pics in a market where Turkish films made up 58% of the total box office in 2015, the top local market share in Europe.
Arthouse movies have been suffering shrinking ticket sales in Turkish cinemas in the past couple of years, reflecting a similar trend in many other territories. But the good news is that “minimum guarantees are rising,” says Tezel.
MGs are rising, in part, because the dollar and the euro are getting stronger against the Turkish lira while competition is growing in the digital streaming arena with the recent arrival of Netflix and other OTT players and more heated rivalry among the country’s two top pay-TV channels, Digiturk, which is owned by
Qatar-based beIN Media Group, and D-Smart.
In the Turkish arthouse sector the top titles this year are “Son of Saul,” winner of the 2015 foreign-language Oscar, Paolo Sorrentino’s “Youth,” and German director Oliver Hirschbiegel’s drama “13 Minutes.”
Overall movie attendance in 2016 is up 15% so far this year, Tezel says. In 2015, 60.4 million movie tickets were sold in Turkey, according to Antrakt.