Serbia has a regional box office hit with Toma
- The biopic of the legendary singer popular all over former Yugoslavia has sold over 700,000 tickets in Serbia and Bosnia after five weekends on release
Serbian actor, producer and director Dragan Bjelogrlić's new film Toma [+see also:
film profile], which world-premiered out of competition at the Sarajevo Film Festival, has become another regional hit from the creator of the Montevideo franchise, selling 555,546 tickets in Serbia and Montenegro after five weekends on release through Art Vista, and earning €2.1 million. In addition, the film has been in Bosnian theatres for four weekends through distributor Oskar Film, adding 145,659 tickets for a total of €2.5 million gross B.O.
The biopic of the legendary singer Toma Zdravković, portrayed by Milan Marić (Dovlatov [+see also:
interview: Milan Maric
film profile]), who was popular all over former Yugoslavia and whose passionate, tear-jerking songs are still standard fodder at parties and clubs in the region 30 years after his death, has proven that cinemagoers' appetite for nostalgia is the best box office bet in the region. Bjelogrlić's Montevideo movies - Montevideo, Taste of a Dream (2011) and See You in Montevideo (2015) told the story of the Yugoslav football team's participation in the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay and amassed more than one million admissions in Serbia, with the sequel selling 498,500 tickets to gross €1.5 million. Both were also the country's Oscar submissions.
Last week, a Serbian man was arrested for leaking the screener of Toma on torrent aggregators, in a country where piracy has been ripe and never truly dealt with since the 1990s, when Serbia was under UN embargo and the only way to watch foreign films was on pirated VHS copies. This has started a heated debate on IP rights in the region, and created an additional buzz for the film which is yet to be released in other countries of the former Yugoslavia.
In November, another sure hit enters distribution in Serbia and Croatia, Miloš Avramović's South Wind 2: Speed Up. It is a sequel to 2018's South Wind, a gritty crime-action-comedy set among car thieves, drug dealers and corrupt cops of the Belgrade underground which sold over 600,000 tickets (read story). The Serbian-Croatian co-production was one of the biggest hits of this year's Croatian national Pula Film Festival, selling out the 5,000-seat Roman Arena five days before the screening.
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