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Argentina Admissions Edge Down, Gross Box Office Shoots Up 25% To All Time Record

Variety logo Variety 1/9/2017 John Hopewell
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PARIS — Cinema box office in Argentina, Latin America’s third biggest movie market, shot up 24.7% in 2016 to an all-time record of 3.9 billion pesos ($245.8 million), according to Argentina’s INCAA Film Institute – though a 62% devaluation in the Argentine peso against the dollar from December 2015 punctured any uptick in dollar-calculated returns to Hollywood studios.

The historic record can be put down to rising ticket prices. Total admissions, a more reliable indicator of box office health for analysts, edged down 3.14% last year to 48.9 million, the second-best result this decade.

Results were bulwarked by the same phenomenon seen in  many major markets in Europe and Latin America as results for 2016 come in: Strength-in-depth from a encouraging spread of titles rather than one or two juggernauts. Powering box office, as in other territories, were stellar results for a clutch of big Hollywood animation movies as well as a robust performance from the national cinema.

Another key box office driver for Argentina last year was audiences’ neo-French desire to catch movies, whatever the ticket prices.

“People still go to the cinema, they like to catch films in theaters,” said one analyst.

Even factoring in devaluation, no 2016 movie got near “Minions’” $36.15 million in 2015, but “Finding Dory” ($17.2 million, according to Box Office Mojo), “Ice Age: Collision Course” ($14.5 million) and “The Secret Life of Pets” ($12.8 million) posted sterling performances underscoring the huge appeal of Hollywood animation in Argentina, a result repeated across most of Latin America last year.

Argentine cinema had no local blockbuster along the lines of 2014’s “Wild Tales” nor “The Clan” in 2015. But, in a departure which will prove heartening for the national film industry, Argentina placed four titles in the top 20. The titles, moreover, appeal to different audience sectors, ranging from the romantic screwball comedy of “I Married a Dumbass” ($9.0 million), to real-life based chanteuse biopic “I am Gilda (The Latin Music Saint)” ($4.6 million), romantic imbroglio “El Hilo Rojo” ($3.3 million)  and the small town dramatic satire of “The Distinguished Citizen” ($3.3 million), Argentina’s Oscar submission.

All four movies were distributed in Argentina by Disney. At 14.43%, Argentine movies’ market share was just down on 2015 and 2014 and is foreseeably the second-best of national cinema results in any territory in Latin America last year, just behind Brazil.

Top 10 FILMS, ARGENTINA, 2016

1.”Finding Dory,” Disney, 3.0 million tickets sold;

2.”Ice Age 5,” 20th Century Fox, 2.6 million;

3.”The Secret Life of Pets,” Universal, 2.4 million;

4.”I Married a Dumbass,” Disney, 2.0 million;

5.”Zootopia,” Disney, 1.8 million;

6.”The Conjuring 2,” Warner Bros, 1.8 million;

7.”The Jungle Book,” Disney, 1.7 million;

8.”Capitan America: Civil War,” Disney, 1.5 million;

9.”Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” Warner Bros, 1.4 million;

10.”Suicide Squad,” Warner Bros, 1.2 million;

Source: INCAA Film Institute

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