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Country Focus: Belgium

Cinema-going up in 2009, but local films don’t profit


- In the first half of 2009, the total number of paid cinema admissions in the Netherlands went up significantly, from almost 10m in 2008 to over 11m this year, an increase of 12.3%.

The most visited film of the first six months was Ron Howard’s Angels & Demons, which sold over 635,000 tickets. The movie based on the bestseller by Dan Brown is followed by Oscar-winner Slumdog Millionaire [+see also:
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from Brit Danny Boyle; animated Disney comedy Bolt; the comedy Yes Man with Jim Carrey; and the digitally shot epic The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. The latter, in fifth position, sold almost 380,000 tickets.

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Besides being a relatively cheap form of entertainment in a tough economic climate, distributors also point to the opening of several multiplexes to explain the current growth.

Though the first half of the year is traditionally the weaker part for local releases, the crop of 2009 was somewhat disappointing. The total number of admissions for home-grown produce clocked in at almost 1.22m in total, or about 10.1% of all tickets sold, down from 14.6% in 2008.

The biggest Dutch film of the first two quarters was the spy spoof Spion van Oranje, which stars popular local TV host and comedian Paul de Leeuw. It has sold almost 210,000 tickets since its release early February.

Dutch releases slated for the second half of the year include the historical drama The Aviatrix of Kazbek (see news); a CGI-animated adventure based on one of the extremely popular Bob and Bobette comic books (co-produced with Belgium); and the drama The Storm, which focuses on the 1953 storm that caused floods in much of the southern province of Zeeland.



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