2017: poor results for local productions in Portugal
by Vitor Pinto
- Jorge Paixão da Costa’s film about Fátima, Jacinta, was the most watched Portuguese film of 2017
Thirty-three local (co-)productions received a theatrical release in Portugal in 2017 – a slightly higher number than the 27 films which premiered in 2016. This increase, however, has not been accompanied by an improvement in box office results. As a matter of fact, it has been quite the opposite. While Portuguese cinema continues to attract the attention of curators from international festivals, 2017 will be remembered as a disappointing year in terms of domestic admissions for local productions. The industry seems perpetually stuck in the traditionally annoying gap between commercial and auteur-driven films – and no particular title has succeeded in making a splash this year.
Almost 45,600 people went to see Jacinta [+see also:
film profile] by Jorge Paixão da Costa – the most successful title of the year – which is a much lower figure than the estimated 188,000 who saw Pedro Varela’s A Canção de Lisboa [+see also:
film profile] in 2016. A Coral Europa! production, Jacinta was released on 13 April 2017 by Nos Lusomundo Audiovisuais, precisely one month before the centenary of the (supposed) epiphany of the Virgin Mary in the village of Fátima. The main character, Jacinta, was one of the three shepherds who witnessed the epiphany.
In second place is Perdidos [+see also:
film profile], a thriller by Sérgio Graciano in which a group of friends fails to lower the ladder of their boat, finding themselves stranded in the ocean, struggling to survive. Written by Tiago R. Santos, Perdidos is a remake of the American film Open Water 2: Adrift. Stopline Filmes produced the film, which attracted almost 44,000 moviegoers.
The only indie film to make it into the Top 5 is Marco Martins’ critically-acclaimed third feature Saint George [+see also:
Q&A: Marco Martins
film profile]. Produced by Filmes do Tejo and starring Venice-winning Nuno Lopes in the lead role, Saint George was seen by nearly 42,000 people. With those being the only two local films to attract over 40,000 movie goers.
Fourth and fifth positions of the Top 5 go to Joaquim Leitão’s O Fim da Inocência [+see also:
film profile] (Cinemate – 26,000 admissions) and Leonel Vieira’s comedy Alguém como eu [+see also:
film profile] (Stopline Filmes – 24,123).
Praised at international festivals, indie titles such as The Nothing Factory [+see also:
interview: Pedro Pinho
film profile] by Pedro Pinho, Damned Summer [+see also:
interview: Pedro Cabeleira
film profile] by Pedro Cabeleira, and Porto [+see also:
interview: Gabe Klinger
film profile] by Brazilian-US director Gabe Klinger all attracted less than 8,000 moviegoers.
Out of the 33 titles released, only eight were feature-length documentaries (compared with 11 docs released last year). Eusébio – História de uma Lenda [+see also:
film profile] by Filipe Ascensão, about the life of the iconic football player, was the most seen documentary (4,600 admissions).
Major distributor and exhibitor Nos Lusomundo Audiovisuais maintained its prominent position in the market, assuring the screening of 12 of the 33 films. Smaller companies like the distribution branches of production outfits Terratreme, Leopardo Filmes and Ukbar Filmes struggled to place their titles in the exhibition circuit, which partly explains the poorer results obtained by some of its productions.
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