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.