Domestic films struggle against Hollywood releases in 2011
by Stefan Dobroiu
02/01/2012 - Numbers made public by local distributors show that Romanian films registered a decrease, as far as the total number of admissions was concerned, in 2011 compared to 2010. Florin Serban's If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle [trailer] brought more than 55,000 viewers in local cinemas in 2010, while this year's domestic champion, MediaPro Pictures-produced comedy The Godmother, dominated the top of the local releases with only 26,000 admissions. The film, directed by Virgil Nicolaescu and Jesus del Cerro was 78th in the year's overall list.
The country's second most successful film was The Bear, a comedy produced by Libra Film and directed by Dan Chisu - 14,800 admissions. Even Catalin Mitulescu's Loverboy [trailer], which was internationally released during the most recent Cannes festival, failed to impress audiences, although it was helped by extensive promotion: only 12,000 admissions, much less than producing company Strada Films had expected. Even the first Romanian romantic comedy in two decades, Hello! How Are You? [trailer], hailed by the press as a potential box-office hit, finished its screening tour in the country with fewer than 10,000 admissions.
Warmly welcomed and even honoured during important film festivals, the best-reviewed domestic productions of the year had fewer than 5,000 admissions each: HiFilm's Best Intentions (4,600), Saga Film's Outbound [trailer] (4,360) and Mandragora Movies's Aurora [trailer] (4,100) were mostly ignored by local audiences, while Anca Damian's critically acclaimed animated documentary Crulic – The Path to Beyond [trailer, film focus] had only 1,300 admissions.
Romanians largely preferred Hollywood blockbusters such as Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (346,000 admissions), raunchy comedies like The Hangover 2 (202,000) or popular fantasies like The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (195,000 admissions in only three weeks). Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris [trailer] and Lone Scherfig's One Day were among the most popular European releases, with more than 30,000 admissions.