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BOX OFFICE Czech Republic

Domestic feature Women on the Run crushes US imports at the Czech box office

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- 2019 was another record-breaking year for Czech movie theatres, and the charts were topped by a home-grown rom-com

Domestic feature Women on the Run crushes US imports at the Czech box office
Women on the Run by Martin Horský

While US imports – most recently various superhero franchises and blockbusters – and films for children used to be commercial sure-fire hits at the Czech box office, a Czech first-time director trounced them all in 2019. The mainstream romantic comedy Women on the Run [+see also:
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, directed by Martin Horský, who wrote scripts (for movies of the same rom-com ilk – namely, Stuck with a Perfect Woman, Life Is Life [+see also:
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and Love Is Love) prior to his record-breaking first directorial outing, brought 1,543,842 paying cinema-goers into theatres (representing 19,003 screenings), grossing a total of 211 million Czech crowns (€8.4 million).

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The romantic comedy (which secured a 32.6% share of the Czech market) about women who are “not afraid to run towards luck”, co-produced by CinemArt, the film’s distributor, became the fastest Czech film in the history of recent domestic cinema (since 1992) to reach 1 million viewers (doing so in 42 days) and the most successful domestic feature debut (since 1992), dethroning Jiří Vejdělek’s comedic road movie Holiday Makers. Like Holiday Makers, Women on the Run emerged from Tomáš Hoffman’s production stable, Infinity Prague. Hoffman, however, is no stranger to record-breaking box-office performances, as his track record now includes four number-one domestic films. His outfit has thus seemingly found the magic formula for making blockbusters within the Czech film industry, while also dabbling in arthouse production.

The Czech rom-com beat Avengers: Endgame, which came in in second place, grossing €6.3 million and drawing in 935,915 cinema-goers (across 13,896 screenings). Curiously enough, 2019 kept the Queen fire burning bright, as Bohemian Rhapsody [+see also:
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(also distributed by CinemArt), which premiered on 11 November 2018 (see the news), landed the third spot in terms of the most-visited films of 2019, grossing an additional 100.6 million Czech crowns (€4 million) last year. That title was followed by the usual suspects, Frozen II and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.

More domestic productions made it into the annual top 20, including Jiří Vejdělek’s latest comedy, The Last of the Noblewomen, co-produced with Slovakia; a sports rom-com directed by scriptwriter Petr Kolečko, Over Fingers; the black comedy The Lady Terrorist [+see also:
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, directed by Radek Bajgar; and the chamber comedy The Owners, which may well become the Czech film of 2019, as it has garnered the most nominations for the national Czech Lion Awards after also racking up the most nods for the Czech Film Critics’ Awards (along with the dramedy Old-Timers [+see also:
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interview: Martin Dušek, Ondřej Provaz…
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).

The total amount grossed in Czech cinemas reached a new high of €104 million (2,616,603,639 Czech crowns), a hike of €13.9 million compared to the previous, also record-breaking, year (see the news), while the number of screenings fell by 1.91% (for a total number of 533,870 screenings). Overall, Czech cinemas welcomed 18.32 million paying theatre-goers, a 12.08% increase on 2018’s 16.34 million. The average price of a single ticket rose from 138.82 Czech crowns (€5.49) to 142.83 Czech crowns (€5.66).

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