Box Office in Spain Plunges 72% in 2020, Though Hits Avert Total Disaster

Father There is Only One, 2
Credit: Jorge Alvarino

Box office in Spain crashed 72% in 2020 to a total €169.7 million ($207 million), with COVID-19 wiping over half a billion dollars from box office sales this year, Comscore announced Tuesday.

By way of comparison, 2019 total box office in Spain stood at €605 million ($738 million). Spanish cinema admissions similarly plunged from 105 million tickets sold last year, a recent-year record, to 28.2 million in 2020.

In line with analysts’ expectations for not only Spain but much of Europe, admissions were the lowest since records began in 1965, and plunged despite cinema theaters remaining open in most of Spain since late June, save for Catalonia and Andalusia, in contrast to Europe’s other biggest markets.

Yet even in such dire circumstances, there were blue sky moments. The highest-grossing movie of the year opened in Spain, for example, after COVID-19 had hit Madrid harder than any other city in Europe.

Released July 29 by Sony in a high-stakes gamble as second-wave COVID-19 began to build in Spain, Santiago Segura’s “Father There Is Only One 2” posted €13 million ($15.9 million) for Sony at Spanish theaters, turning Segura into a national hero.

For two weekends in September, galvanized by “Father There Is Only One 2,” Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” and “After,” Jenny Gage’s romantic drama, Spanish box office motored at €3 million ($3.7 million) per weekend, despite 50% theater capacity restrictions.

That compares to an average total weekend box office in Spain of €6.8 million ($8.3 million) over the last five years, pointed out David Rodríguez, general manager at Comscore in Spain.

Bowing Aug. 26, “Tenet” earned €7.6 million ($9.3 million) in Spain for Warner Bros., still the second-best result for any title released during COVID-19 and placing it third in rankings for 2020.

“Wonder Woman 1984,” the only bona fide Hollywood blockbuster to open in Spain since “Tenet,” helped push nationwide box office to €2.5 million ($2.8 million) over the Dec. 25-27 weekend, by which time cinema theaters had reopened in Catalonia and Andalusia.

“When there have been attractive titles in Spain, box office has held up well, aided by independent and Spanish movies,” said Rodríguez.

As in France, Japan, Korea and recently China, local movies have been “key,” Rodríguez argued. Spanish films’ local market share rose from 15% in 2019, par for the decade, to 25.1% in 2020, the second-best result since 1976, after 2014’s 25.4%, Rodríguez added.

Top 10 Box Office Hits in Spain, 2020
(Title, distributor in Spain, gross, admissions)
1 “Father There Is Only One 2,” Sony, €12.9 million ($15.7 million), 2.3 million
2 “1997,” eOne, €9.6 million ($11.7 million), 1.5 million
3 “Tenet,” WBI, €7.6 million ($9.2million), 1.2 million
4 “Bad Boys for Life,” Sony, €6.7 million ($8.1 million), 1 million
5 “Adú,” PPI, €6.7 million ($8.1 million), 1 million
6 “Dolittle,” UPI, €6.1 million ($7.4 million), 1 million
7 “Parasite,” Aventura, €6 million ($7.3 million), 987,089
8 “Sonic the Hedgehog,” PPI, €5.1 million ($6.2 million), 870,060
9 “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” Disney, €5 million ($6.1 million), 780,959
10 “Jumanji: The Next Level,” Sony, €4.7 million ($5.7 million) 781,991

Top 10 Spanish Box Office Hits in Spain, 2020
1 “Father There Is Only One 2,” Sony, €12.9 million ($15.7 million), 2.3 million
2 “Adú,” PPI, €6.3 million ($7.6 million), 1 million
3 “32 Malasaña Street,” WBI, €3.7 million ($4.5 million), 610,057
4 “The Wedding Unplanner,” A Contracorriente Films, €2.7 million ($3.3 million), 452,401
5 “Superagente Makey,” Dea Planeta, €1.8 million ($2.2 million), 328,633
6 “Eso Que Tú Me Das,” WBI, €1.4 million ($1.7 million), 244,687
7 “If I Were Rich,” PPI, €1.1 million ($1.3 million), 183,830
8 “El Verano Que Vivimos,” WBI, €934,042 ($1.1 million), 147,533
9. “Rosa’s Wedding” Filmax, €920,748 ($1.1 million), 154,132
10. “Cross the Line,” Filmax,  €864,197 ($1 million), 138,149