Local productions top the Czech annual box office for the third year in a row
- While the share of Czech productions among all films watched in theatres fell compared to 2020, national movies continued to hold a strong position at the local box office in 2021
In 2021, the second year of COVID-19 restrictions, there was a slight improvement at the Czech box office compared to the previous, rather disastrous, year. The total earnings grew by 20.18% on 2020’s figures, reaching a level last seen back in 2006. Domestic theatres had been completely shuttered until 23 May; after this date, they reopened and continued to be operational until the end of the year, albeit in a reduced capacity, with a limited number of theatregoers per screening and in the absence of any refreshments being sold. The total earnings thus reached €44,609,633, generated by 7,141,609 cinemagoers (with attendance levels having dropped to levels last seen in the 1990s) at a total of 288,405 screenings. The average price of a ticket rose by 7.45% to a historic high of €6.25.
Domestic productions came to the rescue in 2020, reaching a 52% share of all attended films distributed locally, which meant that Czech productions were dominant in national theatres. In 2021, that share fell slightly, nudging the usual level, yet these movies still maintained a stronger presence compared to other countries, traditionally beaten only by US imports. Despite the rebound of US productions in Czech dark rooms, the highest-grossing film of 2021 turned out to be a local production: the buddy comedy with a middle-age spin Prvok, Šampón, Tečka and Karel [+see also:
film profile], directed by Patrik Hartl, who adapted his bestselling novel for the big screen. It was the third year in a row that a domestic production topped the annual box office, following the 2019 domination of Women on the Run [+see also:
film profile] (see the news) and the surprise hit of 2020 – the documentary Caught in the Net [+see also:
film profile] (see the news).
The total of 10,737 screenings of the flick managed to draw in 600,192 cinemagoers and generate a sum of €3,790,965. The film’s local distributor, Bontonfilm, also served as a producer on Prvok, Šampón, Tečka and Karel (along with another domestic production outfit, love.FRAME, with co-production by Czech Television, Europeana Production and Bourdon), and the film followed in the footsteps of the record-breaking domestic comedy Women on the Run as a mainstream comedy tailored for the domestic audience. Curiously enough, Women on the Run proved to have an incredible theatrical shelf life, as the film managed to draw in an additional 11,000 theatregoers during 2021, despite being aired on television in the meantime. Charlatan [+see also:
interview: Agnieszka Holland
film profile], 3Bobule [+see also:
film profile] and Princess Lost in Time also demonstrated longevity in the domestic dark rooms, as all three had their original run in 2020.
Riding the wave of its global success, Spider-Man: No Way Home, whose previous instalment was shot partly in the Czech Republic, climbed to the second spot in terms of the highest-grossing films at the Czech box office. The Czech Oscar submission, Zátopek [+see also:
interview: David Ondříček
film profile], a period biopic drama about long-distance runner Emil Zátopek, directed by David Ondříček, became the third-highest-grossing film of 2021. The top five at the Czech box office was dominated by local productions, with the documentary Karel (see the news) coming fourth, although the number-five spot was occupied by the latest Bond flick, No Time to Die [+see also:
film profile]. However, it is clear to see that romantic comedies continued to rule the roost for mainstream audiences visiting Czech movie theatres.
With a distribution slate brimming with postponed premieres, such as Statute of Limitations (see the news), and eagerly anticipated new arrivals, such as Emergency Situation (previously known as The Train – see the news), distributors and producers are hoping for still more improvement in the situation of the local box office. Further hope for the future comes in the guise of a new comedy by veteran writing-directing duo Jan and Zdeněk Svěrák, Bethlehem Light, the epic period biopic Il Boemo (see the news), the period action film Medieval (see the news) and the sequel to a gross-out teen comedy that garnered a large cult following, Párty Harder.
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