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FEATUREFOCUS n GLOBAL BOX OFFICE: FIRST QUARTER n SOUTH KOREASPECIAL REPORT


Local title Let The Bullets Fly helped boost China’s Q1 box office performance


Down but not out T


he sky is not falling just yet as global the- atrical box office for the first quarter of 2011 generated $7.4bn. It is approxi- mately 7% off the record-setting pace of


last year’s $7.9bn and ranks as the second-best gross for the period spanning the first three months of the year. However, the pluses and minuses become


considerably more complex and conclusions prove elusive once one begins to wade through the statistics. North American revenues of $2.1bn (and representing just 28% of the global gross) were down an alarming 22% from the comparable period in 2010. The US majors, anticipating an even more precipitous drop in the international arena, hastily prepared projec- tions which foresaw a 32% plunge in US studio revenues outside North America. When the dust settled, the actual erosion at


the international box office eased back to a still- unnerving drop of 24% for the first three months of 2011, in the absence of Avatar, Alice In Wonderland and Clash Of The Titans. But in spite of the lack of worldwide block-


busters of that particular magnitude, the total international market was up a slight 1% on the previous year. While most major territories


n 32 Screen International at the Cannes Film Festival May 14, 2011


While most major territories experienced revenue declines, the presence of strong, indigenous movies helped soften the blow


Without Avatar or Alice In Wonderland to set the pace, the Q1 global box office in 2011 was down on 2010. Leonard Klady looks at what the numbers reveal


experienced year-on-year revenue declines, the presence of strong, indigenous movies helped soften the blow. The one undisputed bright spot is China.


Action comedy Let The Bullets Fly grossed more than $100m in the opening weeks of the year, and with a handful of other local movies helped to more than double last year’s revenues (Avatar remains the nation’s all-time box-office champ). Similarly, intermediate territories such as


Brazil, the Philippines and Turkey each had a run of strong local product which translated into a boost in revenues and admissions.


Downward trend Still, the situation in most mature markets is that despite the presence of films such as Nothing To Declare in France and Kokowaah in Germany, total box office declined generally in the low dou- ble-digits. There is also little evidence non-Eng- lish-language productions found access to new markets outside their home territory during the malaise. The exception is animated 3D features which simply dub in the local tongue. Stereoscopic films outside of North America


continue to draw on the basis of novelty, though the likes of Mars Needs Moms and Drive


Angry failed to pick up sufficient slack from an indifferent US response. The other factors fuel- ling the top international releases were reliable elements such as awards recognition (The King’s Speech, Black Swan) and marquee per- formers (The Tourist, Little Fockers). The latter element skews significantly from trends of the past decade in North America. The volatility and unpredictability of the past


quarter has raised anxieties as theatre operators prepare for a summer packed with high-profile blockbusters. Those films will dominate screens in the upcoming months and should any falter there is little opportunity to implement a back- up plan.


BOX-OFFICE GROWTH Q1, 2010-11 Territory


China Brazil Korea


Mexico UK


Australia Russia India Spain France Italy


Germany Japan


% change from 2010


+88% +23% +22% +2% -5% -7% -11% -15% -16% -17% -18% -20% -27%


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