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A negative 2002


- A bad year for Spanish cinema in 2002; box office takings & attendance fell, films lost money & US titles dominated

The annual report into Spanish cinema was published in issue n°33 of Spanish Academy of Film Arts and Sciences’ house magazine on 16 January. Entitled “The Crisis”, it reported an 11.5 million drop in attendance from the 26.5million of 2001 to the current 15 million. Box office takings also fell by Euros35 million in 2002 from the Euros110million of 2001 to Euros75million. 82,4 per cent of Spanish producers made just one film and less than 3 per cent of them (2.9 per cent to be precise) made more than four films in 2002. As if that were not enough, 70 per cent of all Spanish productions were in the red. On average, 10 films are released every week in SPain: too many, especially since US films occupy a whopping 90 per cent share of the market, 43 per cent of all titles released.
In spite of the high quality of most Spanish films, there is every indication that the worst is yet to come. Fully half of the entire Spanish population never goes to the cinema. Industry operators hope that the recent merger between the country’s two digital platforms and next month’s launch of an eagerly awaited feature entitled Mortadelo y Filemòn will bring it some much needed breathing space.
The average Spanish feature cost Euros2.4m in 2002, slightly lower than the Euros3m of 2001, and was released onto 75 prints, a drop of 38 on the 2001 average of 113. The average Spanish film is a drama, directed by a man aged between 30 and 39, stars an actor of the same age group, and co-stars an actress who about ten years younger. Usually the director will have also written the original screenplay with about four rewrites.

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