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Brazil’s Film Industry Optimistic for 2019

9 Dec

Critical Divide learnt that panellists at Festival do Rio’s RioMarket  were unanimously optimistic for 2019 after what all agreed had been a difficult year in 2018 for distribution, exhibition and getting “bums on seats”.

Factors contributing to what is expected as being a disappointing year for ticket sales and revenues for theatrical releases included the World Cup, the Presidential Elections, and a truckers strike that almost brought Brazil to a halt for two weeks. Panellists also mentioned a disappointing line up of both domestic and international titles that failed to find or excite an audience in Brazil.

For nearly a decade Brazil had seen growth for theatrical releases. It had to stop at some point, so after eight consecutive years of increased ticket sales and revenues in Brazil, 2017 became the year of no growth, but the numbers were still very strong. As panellist Patricia Kamitsuji of Fox-Warner noted, head offices in the US were not complaining about the results they were seeing from Brazil.

Cinema admissions in Brazil had gone from 89.1 million in 2008 to 112.7m in 2009; 134.9m in 2010; 141.7m in 2011; 148.9m in 2012, the year Brazil hosted the FIFA World Cup; 151.2m in 2013; 157.2m in 2014; 170.7 million in 2015, to the record breaking 185 million in 2016, the year of the Rio Olympics. In 2017, no record, but still the very respectable sales of 183 million tickets were achieved, a drop of just 1.5%, compared with 2016, but still the second best year on record.

The decline, for the reasons already mentioned, is likely to be more marked in 2018 with only 127 million tickets having been sold up until the end of September, but the market is already showing signs of recovery in October and early November. Kamitsuji mentioned both “A Star is Born”, which has sold over one million admissions in four weeks, and “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which sold 500,000 tickets over its first weekend and has since passed one million admissions and grossed close to US$12 million.

Panellists noticed that what was more encouraging is that these two films did not fill the normal blockbuster form of an established franchise or action character. All panellists, however, noted that both for international and domestic Brazilian releases, it was the top ten releases that did really well, with the other 400 titles struggling and offering room for improvement.

The average occupancy rates of the 3,316 screens in Brazil, the majority in multiplexes, has been around 19%, and this is likely to have fallen to 18 or 17 percent in 2018. But capacity is a problem whenever a major blockbuster is released. The expansion of screens in Brazil, now back to the levels of 1975, has also slowed in 2018 and this was put down to the current economic climate in Brazil that saw a slowing in the expansion of shopping centres where new screens would be located. Shopping Centre screens are also the most successful in Brazil in terms of revenues and tickets sales.

2016 was also a record year for Brazilian productions with 30.1 million tickets sold during the year, grossing some R$354.8 million, or approximately US$112 million. Seven Brazilian films sold over one million tickets in 2016, with 15 productions selling between 100,000 and a million tickets.

In 2017 Brazilian films sold just 18.5 million tickets, a fall of 38.5%, grossing R$253 million, or approximately US$79 million, from the release of 154 domestic productions. Only four Brazilian films sold over one million tickets in 2017 lead by Cesar Rodrigues’ “Minha Mãe É Uma Peça 2” (My Mom Is A Character 2), starring TV and theatre comedian Paulo Gustavo, which grossed R$89.2 million (US$27.8m) in 2017, which when added to its year end revenue from 2016 saw the film’s total rises to R$124.2m (US$38.8m). Other Brazilian films to pass the one million admission mark in 2017 were “Polícia Federal – A Lei É Para Todos” (1.38 million), “Os Parças” (1.3 million) and “DPA – Detetives do Prédio Azul” (1.2 million). Brazilian films had a market share of 16.4% of admissions and 18.9% of revenues.

2018 is looking better for Brazilian films at the box office with a 37.7% increase in sales up to the end of September, a period in which tickets to international releases fell 14.1%. Rio de Janeiro remains the state with the highest market share for domestic Brazilian releases.

Overall the top grossing film of the year in Brazil in 2017 was “Fast & Furious 8: The Fate of the Furious” that grossed US$41.7m from tickets sales of 8.5 million. The rest of the top ten was made up of “Justice League” (US$41m / 8.4m); “Beauty and the Beast” (US$40.6m / 8.3m); “Despicable Me 3”  (US$39.3m / 8.89m, the highest ticket sales of the year); “Wonder Woma” (US$ 34.2m / 7m); “Spider-Man: Homecoming” ($32m /6.7m); “Thor: Ragnarok” (US$31.2m / 6.4m) “Logan” (US$28.5m / 6.4m); “Minha Mãe É Uma Peça 2” (US$27.8m / 6.5m in 2017 and 9.3m in total) and The “Shack” (US$22.4m / 5.1m).

So far in 2018 the ten top grossing film through 2 December are “Avengers: Infinity War”, that has grossed US$66.7m; “Incredibles 2” (US$37.6m); “Black Panther” (US$37m); Brazil’s “Nada a Perder” (Nothing To Lose – US$33m); “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” (US$24m); “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” (US$21.3); “The Nun” (US$20.5); “Fifty Shades Freed” (US$19.7m); Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” (US$19.5); and “Venom” (US$19.0).”

The Brazilian comedy “Os Farofeiros”, by Roberto Santucci, is 17th in the year’s overall box office having grossed approximately US$9.8m and sold 2.6 million tickets.

Optimism for 2019 comes from an extremely strong expected slate of releases, both international and domestic, that have a proven track record of getting the fans in Brazil through the door and in to the seats. Panellists also saw a boost of national optimism when the new Brazilian President takes power at the start of January, a “feel good” factor that should last at least six months. There is also no World Cup or Olympic distractions in 2019, although Brazil will host the Copa America from 14 June to 7 July.

Among RioMarket’s optimistic panellists, spread across two panels, were Marcos Oliveira of Universal Pictures Brasil, Patricia Kamitsuji of Fox-Warner, Paulo Pereira of Cinépolis, Marcelo Bertini of Cinemark, Bruno Wainer of Downtown Filmes, Silvia Cruz of Vitrine Filmes, Luiz Severiano Ribeiro Neto of Kinoplex, Edson Pimental of Globo Filmes, Leonardo Eddie of Urca Filmes, and Luana Rufino of ANCINE. The moderators were Caio Silva of ABRAPLEX and Mariza Leão of Morena Filmes.

 

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Follow Critical Divide on Social Media

3 Apr

You can now follow Critical Guide on Facebook. To find the page, http://www.facebook.com/TheCriticalDivide/, Click Here and like.

You can also keep up to date by following Critical Divide’s various Twitter accounts. These include.

Critical Divide: @CriticalDivide

Brazil The Guide & Rio The Guide: @RioDiary

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And don’t forget our various web sites that cover Rio, Brazil, the World Cup, the Oscars,  and Ronnie Biggs, to mention just a few.

Rio’s samba school parades in 2016

25 Jun

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As reported in Critical Divide’s Rio: The Guide the draw has been made for main parades of the major Rio samba schools, the  Grupo Especial. The parades will take place on the nights of Sunday, 7 February and Monday, 8 February 2016. The order will be:

Sunday, 7 February 2016

  • Estácio de Sá
  • União da Ilha
  • Beija-Flor
  • Grande Rio
  • Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel
  • Unidos da Tijuca

Monday, 8 February 2016

  • Vila Isabel
  • Salgueiro
  • São Clemente
  • Portela
  • Imperatriz Leopoldinense
  • Mangueira

Six schools will parade on Sunday night and six on Monday and they will start at 21.30, 22.35, 23.40, 00.45, 01.50 and 02.55.

Based on the results of the last six carnivals (2010-2015), the League of Samba Schools (LIESA) ranks the top ten samba schools in Rio de Janeiro as:

Unidos da Tijuca (95 points)
Beija-Flor (81)
Salgueiro (69)
Unidos de Vila Isabel (53)
Grande Rio (47)
Imperatriz Leopoldinense (34)
Portela (34)
Mangueira (29)
União da Ilha do Governador (17)
Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel (16)

Rio Restaurant listings go live on “Rio: The Guide”

6 May

Azul Marinho 1

The Rio restaurant listings have now gone live on Rio: The Guide, the sister site to Brazil: The Guide, both of which are published by Critical Divide. The restaurants can be found in the Eating Out section of the Rio site, and are also listed by area and type.

There are an estimated 10,000 restaurants in Rio de Janeiro, so we have decided to give you a selection of the best and most interesting in the key areas of town.

We also list what the critics and general public consider to be the best in town.

The Rio site also has a full list of the hotels and hostels on offer in Rio de Janeiro as the city prepares to host the Olympic and Paralympic games in 2016.

Rock in Rio 2015 takes shape

27 Feb

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The legendary Queen, stars of the first ever Rock in Rio in 1985 (photo), and Metallica are the latest acts to be added to the line-up for Rock in Rio 2015. Metallica last played Rock in Rio in 2013.

Queen and Metallica join other acts announced that include Katy Perry, who also performed in 2013, John Legend, A-Ha (that attracted a crowd of 198,000 in 1991, when the festival was staged at the Maracãna), System of a Down, Queens of the Stone Age (who played in 2001), Slipnot (who played in 2011), Faith No More (who played in 1991), and Hollywood Vampires, the new super group made up of Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp and Joe Perry.

The festival takes place between 18 and 27 September 2015 close to where the Olympic Village is being built.

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Redentor produced for Festival do Rio 2014

20 Oct

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Critical Divide explains the Brazilian election to Variety’s readers

18 Oct

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Festival do Rio coincides this year – as it does every four years – with Brazil’s presidential election and the elections for the National Congress, state governors and state legislatures. The elections take place on Sunday, Oct. 5 and voting in Brazil is compulsory. If none of the candidates obtains over 50% of the valid votes, a second round will be held on Oct. 26. Incumbent President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers’ Party (PT) is running for re-election. But she is challenged by 11 other candidates of whom Minas Gerais Senator Aecio Neves from the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) and Marina Silva from the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) are her main rivals.

Just over a year ago, it was assumed that Rousseff’s re-election would be something of a stroll in the park for her and her party, and she would easily pass the 50% required at the first time of asking. But then came the protests. Quiet at first, but rising to a violent crescendo where it was openly discussed if Brazil would be fit to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The protests seemed to cover every possible theme and topic, and embraced every age group and social background. They even disrupted last year’s Festival do Rio screenings at the Odeon Petrobras in Cinelandia as its location was a focal point for protestors.

Yet it could be said that this is all history, as the protests diminished and Brazil went on to host one of the most successful – some would say “the” most successful – World Cup. The president was still booed at the matches she attended, but so was FIFA president Sepp Blater. Rousseff may have been hit and wounded, and accusations of her party’s corruption and incompetence continued to grow, yet her opponents still looked far from likely to upset the apple cart or the gravy train that many of her party workers appeared to be riding.

Opinion polls gave Rousseff a comfortable lead over her main rivals, but it now started to look as if she would not get the magic 50% required in the first round, yet this would be a temporary blip as she was almost certain beat her most obvious opponent in the second round, Aecio Neves.

Yet everything changed when the original PSB candidate, Eduardo Campos, died in a plane crash in Santos on Aug. 13 The party quickly chose Marina Silva, who had been his running mate and who had run for the presidency on her own party ticket four year ago, to replace him.

The bounce in the polls was dramatic, more than any Hollywood screenwriter would dare to script, and riding a wave of emotion the PSB saw its poll ratings jump in days from less than 10% to over 33%, passing even the president’s rating. Polls also showed that if Silva and Rousseff were to face off, Silva would be a comfortable winner.

But Brazilian voting patterns are nothing if not volatile, and in recent days the concerted negative attacks on Silva by the president and her party machine has seen Rousseff re-take the lead. Yet if Silva can stop the president reaching 50%, there will still be all to play for in the head- to-head in the second round.

So what does the election mean to the film industry and culture in general?

In truth, and this would sadly be true in most of the world, culture is not very high up the pecking order when it comes to vote-changing issues. Although as veteran producer Luiz Carlos Barreto noted in O Globo, one of Rio and Brazil’s main papers: “Artists are only called to decorate the hustings during the elections, never to discuss culture.”

Globo, to its credit, did attempt to bring culture into the presidental debate by asking all the three main candidates questions on cultural issues that had been set by cultural big hitters including Barreto, actress Patricia Pillar, musician Ivan Lins, director and actor Domingos Oliveira, and the director of Porto Cine, Adailton Medeiros, among others.

What was abundantly clear from the answers was that not one of the candidates had given much weight or thought to cultural issues, with the answers being penned by their political advisers and spin-doctors.

Sadly, none of the candidates gave a clear answer to the questions, and almost went out of their way not to commit to any concrete proposals for the development of the cultural sector. As Barreto noted: “The answers were conventional, without any new vision as how to formulate public policy for all the different strands of culture. The ideas and visions were very general.”

If you could spot a trend in the replies it was that the current president thinks she and her government have been doing a great job, so don’t really need to change their position; Silva placed culture in with education, so issues were viewed for their educational impact rather than cultural or financial impact; while Neves said he would like to see a more private-public business partnership in developing Brazil’s cultural sector.

It is unlikely that any party has won or lost votes on its cultural positioning, but voters may have noted that the artistic community that once flocked to support the ruling PT when Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was its charismatic leader and president, have been shifting to support Silva.

The most vocal, not surprisingly, are the more successful artists that don’t need to go cap in hand to the government for support and funding. Highly respected musician Caetano Veloso has been very vocal in his support for Silva, explaining to the public and his 1.5 million Facebook followers why he thinks it is time for a change with a vote for Silva.

The most surprising switch of allegiance – and potentially more damaging – has been that of Veloso’s fellow musician and friend, Gilberto Gil, who was Lula’s high profile Minister of Culture. He too has switched to Silva and has even written a campaign song for her.

The public support of cultural figures may not influence the outcome of the first round of voting on 5 October (although a week out from election it was estimated that as many as 20% may still be undecided), but it could make a real difference in the run up to the second round on 26 October. Especially if they are willing to share the hustings with Silva and become even more vocal in their criticism of the existing government.

Another prominant supporter of Silva is the film director Fernando Meirelles (“City of God”) who is promising to bring his very considerable marketing clout and experience to the electoral party and produce some promotional spots for the second round when Silva would have equal air time on television with Rousseff.

Ex-president Lula, who hand picked Rousseff to succeed him, can be only too aware that it was a Meirelles short promotional film that helped swing the vote for Rio to host the 2016 Olympics, and beat other cities that had appeared to be the clear front runners.

On a more local front, the Brazilian film industry is probably quietly pleased to see the current governor of Rio, Luiz Fernandes do Pezao of the PMDB, recovering in the polls and looking well placed to win at the second round of voting for governor of the state of Rio. His predecessor, Sergio Cabral, was recognized as having done a lot for the city and state, in term of both the World Cup and Olympics, and security, but was dragged down by a number of scandals that resulted in various measures and funding to support the film industry, including the Marca RJ announced in Cannes, never coming to fruition. There will be hope that some of these support mechanisms and funding will be reinstated should Pezao win the election.

Overall, filmmakers in Rio can look forward to two years of relative stability, as that is how long the current mayor, Eduardo Paes, has left in office. It is the mayor that funds RioFilme and the Rio Film Commisssion, and makes Festival do Rio possible.

Ironically, there were political protests again at the opening of this year’s Festival do Rio, but all fairly good-natured. The protest was by filmmakers who are accusing the mayor and governor’s office of only supporting commercially interesting projects rather than artistically driven projects that have little chance of making their money back.

An argument that will be familiar in many countries, yet Brazilian filmmakers may have to re-think their position as in 2013 a healthy 120 Brazilian films were made and released, yet less than 20 found an audience of any note to help the domestic share of the box office creep above 18% of tickets sold. It is unsustainable, especially to politicians, to fund so many films that fail to find an audience.

While non-Brazilians filmmakers who deal with Brazil will watch the elections with interest, their main wish, regardless of who wins, will be to see less bureaucracy in Brazil and clearer rules and transparency when it come to the taxation levied on film projects on a municipal, state and federal level. Many foreign producers have been caught out in the past 18 months by extra taxes asked for by Brazilian production companies and partners on costs that were not included in the original budgets.

Brazil needs to simplify the filmmaking process and the time it takes to process funding requests if it wants to attract more production and to benefit from the exposure the country received during the World Cup and will again in 2016 with the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The question now is if the next president or governor of Rio will show more interest in culture and filmmaking when in office, than during their campaigns.