Spain’s Total Box Office Up 6% in 2016, Driven by ‘A Monster Calls,’ ‘The Secret Life of Pets’

Like France, Spain showed strength in depth of 2016 releases

A Monster Calls TIFF
Courtesy of TIFF

MADRID — Marking a third year of partial recovery after a double-dip recession, piracy and high ticket prices devastated cinema-going in Spain, total box office for 2016 hit €600.8 million ($634.3 million), up 5% on 2015. At 100.3 million, cinema attendance in Spain broke the 100 million barrier for the first time since 2009.

Announced Monday by comScore, the 2016 box office results echo those of France: Spain’s biggest hits of 2016 were consistently down in box office against 2015’s top behemoths. But strength in depth again meant total box office for the year was up on 2015.

Other factors also look at work for Spain. Total gross take at Spanish theaters held consistently above €600 million ($632.4 million) from 2001’s €616.4 million ($649.7 million) through 2012’s €614.2 million ($647.4 million), per Spanish Ministry of Culture records. But in 2013, it fell off a cliff, plunging to just €522 million ($550.2 million) after Spain’s government slapped a 21% tax on cinema tickets in September 2012.

Since then, Spain’s exhibition sector has fought to attract Spaniards back to cinemas without surrendering totally on ticket prices. Two cut-price Fiestas del Cine, a campaign to get Spaniards back to the cinema, and slightly cheaper tickets, down from €6.07 to €6.01, help explain Spain’s market renaissance, said David Rodriguez, at comScore Spain.

According to comScore, the single most popular day of cine attendance in Spain last year was Oct. 28, during one of its Fiestas de Cine.

2016 was also “another year with local product as a key driver,” Arturo Guillen, comScore VP, Europe, Middle East and Africa, tweeted Sunday.

For the fifth time in the last six years, a Spanish title, this time round Juan Antonio Bayona’s “A Monster Calls,” proved Spain’s No. 1 box office champ, earning €26.1 million ($27.5 million) at Spanish theaters over 2016. Earning €109.0 million ($114.9 million) on their home turf, Spanish movies took an 18.1% share. That share was 25% in 2014 and 19% in 2015, the two best results for local movies since 1977 as Spaniards begin to revise their historical antipathy for homegrown movies, which dates back to the 1940s post-Civil War.

Spain’s 2016 results are “tremendously positive. confirming a trend which we first noted some three years ago,” said Guillen.

That said, Spain still has some way to go to full recovery. Only one Hollywood movie punched over €20 million ($21.1 million) at the box office last year: Universal’s “The Secret Life of Pets.”

Such trawls for top Hollywood fare were a far more regular result second half last decade before the spread of broadband facilitated piracy in Spain.


1.”A Monster Calls,” Universal, €26.1 million ($27.5 million);

2.”The Secret Life of Pets,” Universal, €21.3 million ($22.5 million);

3.”Finding Dory,” Disney, €17.6 million ($18.6 million);

4.”The Jungle Book,” Disney, €16.8 million ($17.7 million);

5.”The Revenant,” Fox, €14.2 million ($15.0 million);

6.”Zootopia,” Disney, €13.4 million ($14.1 million);

7.”Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them,” Warner Bros., €13.1 million ($13.8 million);

8.”Palm Trees in the Snow,” Warner Bros., €12.2 million ($12.8 million);

9.”Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” Disney, €11.4 million ($12.0 million);

10.”Suicide Squad,” Warner Bros., €11.3 million ($11.9 million)

Source: comScore, €1 = $1.05