Slovakian films surpass one million admissions in domestic theatres for the second time since 1993
- Three films completed in 2019 made it into the top ten of the most-seen Slovakian movies since the country gained its independence
Slovakian cinema is bouncing back even stronger after a solid 2018 (see the news), which proved to be the second-most-successful year for cinema-going since 1993, but which was sorely lacking in domestic productions. The Slovakian Union of Film Distributors recently revealed the figures, which saw a 9.46% hike in admissions, for a total of 6,529,320 cinema-goers, resulting in total gross earnings of €37,258,401 (and a €5.71 average admission fee). The total grossed at the box office climbed by 12.76%. However, domestic productions enjoyed quite an eventful year after a disappointing performance in 2018. New Slovakian films were seen by 234,446 cinema-goers in 2018, while in 2019, domestic movies managed to attract 1,075,129 paying viewers, marking the second time that the one-million-viewer threshold has been exceeded since 1993.
The first half of 2019 saw 392,098 people flock to the movie theatres (see the news). Peter Bebjak’s miniseries The Rift [+see also:
film profile], which was repackaged and released in cinemas before its small-screen premiere (see the news), established its dominance early on, enticing 262,588 viewers into the dark rooms, and in fact, virtually no other production was able to outperform it. The only film that outpaced The Rift at the box office was the final instalment in the superhero franchise Avengers: Endgame (with 278,301 admissions).
However, the second and third best-performing domestic films only broke through in the second half of 2019. The independent, low-budget dramedy Loli Paradička [+see also:
interview: Marka Staviarska
film profile], which managed to out-earn its budget within two weeks of its premiere (see the news), landed in the third spot in the chart of the most-seen domestic films in cinemas. For a title with a budget of (reportedly) €175,000, it raked in an impressive €696,389 (123,144 admissions).
Young filmmaker Jakub Kroner, the director of the animated satire à la South Park LokalFilmis [+see also:
film profile] (2015) and the romantic drama Love (2011), which ranks as one of the ten most successful domestic films (since 1993), returned with the romantic flick Happy New Year. The romantic genre is almost always a sure-fire hit in domestic cinemas, and Happy New Year confirmed this trend, eventually becoming the second-most-visited Slovakian film despite having had its premiere at the end of the year, during the Christmas season. Following The Rift’s grossing of €1,544,225 (262,588 admissions), Happy New Year did indeed enjoy a happy new year at the box office, raking in €1,213,735 (201,858 admissions).
2019 saw a total of 238 film premieres, 44 of which were feature-length titles and were from domestic production companies (and 20 of these were minority co-productions). Out of all of the premiered Slovakian films, 26 were fiction movies (14 minority co-productions), 16 were documentaries (six minority co-productions) and two were animated features. The most-visited domestic documentary feature turned out to be a road movie by Marek Slobodník, Through Africa on a Pioneer (16,293 admissions). The Slovak Audiovisual Fund supported domestic productions with a total sum of €10.7 million.
Furthermore, the three top-performing domestic movies made it into the top ten of the most-visited Slovakian films (from 1993-2019), with The Rift landing in sixth place (Bebjak’s previous film, The Line [+see also:
interview: Andrey Yermak
interview: Peter Bebjak
film profile], remains in fourth position), followed by Happy New Year (seventh place) and Loli Paradička (eighth place).
Loli Paradička, the unorthodox, tragicomic story of the love between a disabled street-market seller and a young Roma girl, helmed by Richard and Víťo Staviarsky, proved to have a long shelf life outside of domestic theatres. As a co-production with Radio and Television Slovakia, the film aired in December on the second channel of the public broadcaster, becoming the most-watched (non-sport) programme of the last eight years. Loli Paradička was seen by 272,000 viewers (above the average market share of 15.6% in the 12+ age group) despite the late-night slot (the prime-time programme on the first channel drew 286,000 viewers). Loli Paradička thus became the dark horse of 2019 among Slovakian film productions.
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