It’s estimated that Latin America‘s share of the global filmed entertainment market will hit $6.8B by 2017, according to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers report. But will the region’s biggest country, Brazil, continue its growth? And how is Hollywood planning for next year’s World Cup? Elsewhere in the region, local language commercial fare was big for the studios. Here’s a look back at 2013 and some thoughts for the future in some of the Latin American territories:
Keen to take advantage of a prime holiday release date, Lionsgate sent The Hunger Games: Catching Fire to Brazil ahead of any other territory in November. The sequel tripled the first film’s opening take there and now has about $17.6M to date. Brazil has grown steadily, but I’m told it’s underserved with about 2,500 screens for a population of over 201M. Box office in 2012 was $737M, a 6% increase on the previous year, and 2013 looks set for another jump once the final figures are tallied. As of late November, it was already up 9.5% and December brought releases of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug and comedy Till Luck Do Us Part 2, the sequel to 2012’s No. 1 local film Até Que A Sorte Nos Separe by Roberto Santucci (replete with cameo by Jerry Lewis). It’s been a strong year for local comedies including André Pellenz’ Minha Mãe E Uma Peça: O Filme and Meu Passado Me Condena: O Filme. Market share for Brazilian movies in 2012 was 9.5%, which was down from the previous year. But it should be higher in 2013. Still, some are skeptical that overall sales can keep up apace in coming years. A studio exec says they have “a hard time seeing Brazil jump” any further. The country “had this big boom with a lot of local stuff, but it’s hard to see it doing it again. They’re so driven by (movies like) The Avengers. They love that stuff.” Another U.S. studio exec contends, “Brazil has slowed. The cost of exhibition is very high as they are under-screened. But local productions drive growth as do family movies like Rio.”
*Building A Local Business
The local industry got a boost at the very end of 2013 with a new financing package for funding body the Fundo Setorial Do Audiovisual which will receive an injection of 400M reals ($168.4M) in 2014. Already an attractive co-production partner, Brazil could be even sexier thanks to the new coin. In 2013, Stephen Daldry‘s Trash with Rooney Mara shot in Rio. It’s produced locally by 02 Filmes, the production company of City Of God director Fernando Meirelles. 02 Filmes also recently made Contos Do Edgar for the local Fox channel, a series that transfers Edgar Allen Poe’s stories to contemporary Sao Paolo, and is in development on 7 Minutes, a bank robbery series for Fox which could have crossover/remake potential. 02 partner Paolo Morelli, whose Entre Nos was at the Rome Film Festival this year, says, “Brazil is an unstable country, nobody knows what can change from one moment to another. But if the government and people that deal with laws, if they don’t change what has been achieved, I believe that we are about to really build an audiovisual industry. It seems we are going forward.”
Meanwhile, there’s an event looming this summer that will no doubt have an impact on local and overseas box office, and for which Hollywood has already been long in the planning. Beginning June 12th, soccer fans around the world will be fixated on Brazil for the World Cup whose final will be played on July 13th. A U.S. studio exec says, “Everybody is avoiding the World Cup overall… There are a lot of daytime games, so that’s a killer for Europe with the main games on at 8 PM local… Everybody has moved off from those dates.” Not everyone, exactly. Paramount’s Transformers: Age Of Extinction starts rolling out in some European territories on June 25th before going day-and-date with China on June 27th. Still, it’s not opening in Latin America or Southern Europe until just as the championship draws to a close. Fox’s Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes opens July 11th in the U.S., but later in the rest of the world. Warner Bros’ Jupiter Ascending goes out Stateside on July 18th and later elsewhere, well after Cup fever will have died down (unless of course the English carry out their first win since 1966, in which case they won’t be letting anyone forget it for a long time to come). Among the counterprogramming titles are 22 Jump Street, Jersey Boys, The Purge 2 and Deliver Us From Evil. “The World Cup puts a dent in things… But we’re all so accustomed to it that everyone plans around it,” an exec says. Dating movies, however, can be “cutthroat.”
ELSEWHERE IN LATIN AMERICA:
Expanding its reach into the fast growing Spanish-speaking market, Participant Media announced the creation of Participant PanAmerica at Berlin in 2013. The company is a shared venture with Mexico’s Canana, Chile’s Fabula and Colombia’s Dynamo to develop and co-finance 10-12 Spanish language films a year. Its first project, El Ardor, was shot by director Pablo Fendrik this summer in Argentina with Gael García Bernal and Alice Braga starring. Participant earlier backed Fabula’s No, an Oscar nominee from Chile, and this year’s Chilean entry, Gloria, by Sebastian Lelio. The latter, surprisingly, did not make the Foreign Language shortlist. But a local comedy starring and directed and written by comedian and mimic Stefan Kramer, was a smash. Citizen Kramer, released in December by Fox, scored the biggest debut of 2013. It’s the sequel to last year’s mega-hit comedy Stefan Vs Kramer which went on to become the highest grossing movie ever in Chile with $11.9M and was also handled by Fox.
Related: Participant PanAmerica Backing ‘El Ardor’ With Gael Garcia Bernal And Alice Braga
UPDATE: International Box Office: ‘Catching Fire’, ‘Frozen’ Strong; It’s ‘About Time’ In Korea + Regional Analysis
Highlighting the strength of commercial homegrown fare in Argentina, several films have hit. Each has studio distribution and each is nestled amongst big-ticket Hollywood fare near the top of the charts. They include Universal Pictures International‘s 3D animated Foosball by The Secret In Their Eyes director Juan José Campanella; Fox’s Septimo; Disney comedy Corazón De León; and crime thriller Tesis Sobre Un Homicidio. Conversely, Argentina’s well-received drama The German Doctor was the country’s Oscar entry, but did not make the shortlist. In Mexico, Warner Bros had a huge hit with We Are The Nobles, a family comedy that grossed more than $26M and has had remake interest around Latin America and the U.S. Another comedy, Instructions Not Included, was the top local grosser with over $46M. On the back of those two mega-hits, the local Mexican market is reportedly up 287% from 2012.