Country Focus: Spain
The Spanish box-office hits the bottom (or not)
by Sergio Ríos Pérez
- Last June 15-16 was the worst weekend in the history of the Spanish box-office, with revenue barely totalling €2.2 million. Many analyses had warned that this weekend could be a negative point in the history of Spanish cinema, when considering the programme (many minor releases), the trajectory of the last few months and the coincidence of other factors which traditionally negatively affect cinema (nice weather, and a major sporting event like the football confederation cup).
For the last few years, Spanish cinema seems to be ignoring problems in order to confront the main one. Adding to the problems of public funding, piracy, the disappearance of the DVD market and conflicts with television networks, is the crumbling of box-office sales, which has been a factor for the sector since the end of 2012. Reasons for this are being analysed, but one question seems to be the central one: the Spanish public has lost interest in cinema as a form of escapism.
This loss of interest may be due to the price of tickets (resulting from an increase in taxes from 8% to 21%), to a change in audiences, to the immunity of those encouraging piracy in Spain, or to all of these factors at once. Something urgently needs to be done, which is something that was underlined during the 8th edition of Madrid de Cine, which just came to a close, by Pedro Pérez (interview), president of FAPAE and one of the most influential voices from within Spanish cinema. “Our efforts should be focused on recuperating our public.” Pérez also indicated what a path towards doing this may look like. “If people think cinema is expensive, we need to act in consequence. There is no other way of bringing the public back into cinemas than undertaking an aggressive price war, which will attract spectators.”