Czech Republic box office down to six-year low
by Viktor Palák
In 2011, while the number of screenings went up by 2,42%, attendance numbers dropped by a significant 20,29% (approx. 2,7 million less tickets were sold compared to 2010) with ticket prices going up only slightly - this is the first time since 2005 when the profits of Czech cinemas dropped compared to the previous year.
Not even Czech films that are traditionally embraced by local audiences saved the day. Even the biggest blockbuster – Jiri Vejdelek's romantic comedy Muzi v nadeji (pictured) – was seen by 380,000 fewer people than his 2010 hit Zeny v pokuseni [+see also:
film profile], which also topped the chart. In all, three local films made the top ten, and 14 made the top 50.
Films most lauded at the Czech Film Critics' Awards failed to make even the Top 50, as Long Live the Family (which premiered in October) gained only 16,000 viewers before its January re-release, while Poupata [+see also:
film profile] achieved less than 9,000 viewers, but only had its premiere early December.
The final part of the Harry Potter series became the most successful foreign film with a little more than 700,000 admissions. No other European (co-)production made the top 10, but The King's Speech [+see also:
interview: Tom Hooper
film profile] finished 11th with a little fewer than 190,000 tickets sold in a country of 10,5 million.
A brighter future is expected this year, with blockubusters such as new additions to the Batman, Spiderman, James Bond and Lord of the Rings series as well as 30 Czech films including a sequel of the massively attended but critically despised film Libas jako buh on the horizon. An expected 'art house' hit Bohdan Slama's Four Suns premiered at Sundance last Sunday.
The process of digitalizing Czech cinemas is quickly proceeding, however multiplexes still dominate the audience numbers with a 66,74% share as numerous local cinemas only run thanksto financial support from municipal governments.
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