Country Focus: Slovakia
2014 shakes up the historic chart of the most-seen local films in Slovakia
by Martin Kudláč
- Last year, Slovakian distributors and exhibitors recorded a positive trend, as the overall attendance rate increased by 11.5% (4.11 million paying viewers) compared to the previous year, while the gross box office rose by 10.4% (€20.7 million in total), counting a total of 248 premieres (19 releases shy of 2013’s figure). The ten highest admissions were mostly taken by US productions, with the sequel to the animated How to Train Your Dragon taking the number-one spot (exceeding 170,000 viewers) and with second place going to The Hobbit’s final instalment. The Inheritance II by Robert Sedláček, the sequel to Věra Chytilová’s cult comedy, established itself as the sixth most-seen film. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 scored the best opening weekends along with the Slovak documentary 38; the doc also rocked up in fifth place in the admissions top ten for 2014.
The posthumous portrait of a beloved Slovakian hockey player who died tragically in September 2011 in Russia was the most-seen domestic production of 2014, overshadowing the Slovakian number one from 2013, The Candidate [+see also:
film profile]. Prior to the year’s end, 113,930 viewers had seen 38 (The Candidate enticed 80,234 paying customers into theatres), which meant that the movie shook up the historic chart of the most-seen local films in Slovakia, becoming the fifth most-attended domestic title in the history of the country’s independence. Fourth place belonged to Soul at Peace, which took 116,818 admissions (2009), and the number-one spot is occupied by Juraj Jakubisko’s historical drama Bathory [+see also:
film profile], which clinched an impressive 432,300 admissions (2008). Slovakian audiences had the chance to see 22 local films in cinemas last year (out of a total number of 26 domestically produced features): these comprised ten fiction features (of which three were minority co-productions) and 12 documentaries.
Besides the documentary 38, the fairy-tale film Láska na vlásku [+see also:
film profile], directed by Mariana Čengel Solčanská and based on Mark Twain’s story The Prince and the Pauper, also had a successful run. While the fairy-tale genre is extremely underrepresented in domestic cinema (the last effort, Thomas and the Falcon King, was made 15 years ago), Láska na vlásku managed to attract 45,091 visitors; however, the casting of young pop starlet Celeste Buckingham might have played a role in the marketing strategy for the movie. All My Children [+see also:
film profile], another documentary portrait focusing on a priest who lends a helping hand to people on the bottom of the social ladder, was seen by 25,523 viewers. Lastly, the sports drama Fair Play [+see also:
film profile] became the most-seen minority co-production (with 7,300 admissions).