Country Focus: Spain
Spanish cinema sounds the alarm in Malaga
by Sergio Ríos Pérez
- The press conference the federation of producers FAPAE holds every year during the Malaga film festival has sometimes been a celebration of Spanish talents, sometimes a denunciation and protest against problems. More than ever, the latter was the case this year. The recent blow of the news of Alta Films being shut down (read the news story), which is a symbol of Spanish and European film, combined with box office results for the weekend described as “disastrous” by Rentrak, who has never recorded such bad results: €3.8 million and half a million spectators.
The most alarming fact presented by Pedro Pérez, the president of FAPAE, and José Ramón Gómez Fabra, president of the federation of practitioners FECE, was a comparison between the first 21 days of April 2012 and April 2013. This year has seen a drop of spectators of 45.2% and 50% less revenue excluding tax (which has gone up, from 8% to 21% between one date and the other). Judging from this data, Pérez’s calls (“everything is on the line at the moment”) as well as Gómez Fabra’s (“we are living through a dramatic personal and cultural moment”) almost seem tame.
Pérez went back to asking the government to reverse the tax increase, a demand which has been backed by the larger European industry, as you can read in an op-ed by Alexandra Lebret, the head of the European Producers’ Club (EPC), published today by Cineuropa (read the news story). According to FECE, the tax increase has caused the collapse of box office revenues of 5.3% and the loss of 12.7% of cinema theatres.
According to a press release by the practitioners’ association, the increase in tax has caused “a reduction in audiences and a greater consideration from spectators in terms of choosing what film to see, meaning a concentration on just a few films (mega-productions), resulting in the majority of the films on offer, especially those European ones, paying a high price for the change in tax rate.”
As if this weren’t enough, Gómez Fabra has diffused another worrying figure: compared to 2004, when cinemas recorded 194 million spectators, 2012 attracted 40% less spectators.