2020 was the year of the Scumbag at the Slovak box office
- Before the pandemic ravaged the domestic box office, Mariana Čengel Solčanská and Rudolf Biermann’s political thriller took it by storm
2020 had been shaping up to be another strong year in Slovak theatres. Admissions for the political thriller Scumbag [+see also:
film profile], co-directed and co-written by Mariana Čengel Solčanská and Rudolf Biermann, skyrocketed from the get-go in February (see the news). In total, 98,056 paying theatre-goers saw the film over the four days around its opening weekend (this rises to 103,660 theatre-goers if we take into account pre-premieres).
However, the early celebrations were soon to be disrupted by the aftermath of the spread of COVID-19. Owing to preventive measures and lockdowns, domestic theatres had to be shuttered for 116 days in 2020. The total number of premieres fell from 248 (in 2019) to 146, with many US imports and 20 domestic films postponed to 2021. Like countless other national box offices, total Slovak admissions cratered by 63.78% compared to 2019, totalling 2,364,814 paying theatre-goers (the second-weakest year since 1993). The domestic box office grossed €13.97 million, which marks a 59% drop compared to the previous year (€34.2 million).
However, the overall cloudy situation does have a silver lining, as the share of admissions for domestic productions (and local minority co-productions) when looking at total admissions numbers doubled to 32.79% (up from 4.21% in 2018 and 16.47% in 2019). A total number of 775,487 paying theatre-goers went to see domestic films (in contrast, 1.4 million viewers saw local movies in cinemas in the record-breaking year of 2017 – see the news).
Scumbag became the most theatrically visited film of 2020, with 395,604 admissions, followed by the rom-com A Too Personal Acquaintance [+see also:
film profile], directed by Marta Ferencová, racking up 176,080 admissions. Curiously enough, Scumbag reached a rare milestone, as the flick became the first domestic production ever to gross more than €2 million. In an even rarer achievement, Scumbag outgrossed the highest-grossing film in local theatres. Bohemian Rhapsody [+see also:
film profile] had been leading the chart with €2.5 million until Čengel Solčanská and Biermann’s thriller hit the jackpot at the box office, raking in €2.53 million.
74% of the total admissions to Slovak films were taken by Scumbag and A Too Personal Acquaintance. In addition, for the first time in history, the top three of the most-visited films was dominated by domestic productions, as the third sport belonged to Jakub Kroner’s rom-com Happy New Year (which was premiered in December 2019; the movie sold 78,113 admissions in 2020 after scoring 201,858 in 2019).
The 2020 box-office figures do not include Peter Bebjak’s period drama The Report [+see also:
interview: Peter Bebjak
film profile], which was screened for seven days in a single town in order to meet the criteria to be submitted for the Oscars race (see the news). The most-visited domestic (or minority-coproduced) documentaries became Barbora Chalupová and Vít Klusák’s Caught in the Net [+see also:
film profile] (23,518 admissions) and the music doc Tempos (23,491 admissions), about a Slovak rap star.
The Slovak film magazine Film.sk provided these box-office figures.
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