Inside the Growth in 5 Key Latin American Markets

6:45 AM 11/4/2018

by Agustin Mango

Generous shooting incentives and the steady flow of Netflix cash are driving growth, but struggling regional economies present challenges.

Wild District still - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of Netflix

  • Argentina

    Argentine art house fare continues to thrive, with films like Luis Ortega’s El Angel and Benjamin Naishtat’s Rojo regularly landing at A-list international film fests. But the country’s ongoing economic crisis is pushing film attendance figures below 2017’s numbers. The upside is that the deep devaluation of the Argentine peso could make the region a more attractive spot for foreign shoots since the country boasts some of the most professional crews in Latin America. And this year, the National Film institute announced an annual $2.6 million initiative to promote international TV and digital co-productions with a 50 percent rebate capped at $248,000.

  • Brazil

    The audiovisual industry in the largest LatAm market continues to grow despite the country’s economic crisis and the election-year turmoil that has included everything from an assassination attempt to social media ad fraud and a jailed front-runner. Still, industry growth is being fueled by a number of original productions from Netflix (The Mechanism, Spectros, Super Drags) as well an animation scene so strong it received its own sidebar at France’s Annecy animation festival in June. Elsewhere, the government is attempting to boost foreign shoots with a $1.6 million investment intended to turn scenic Niteroi in southwest Brazil into a production hub.

  • Colombia

    Colombia’s 20 percent to 40 percent cash rebate for foreign shoots is still one of the most attractive features for international productions in the region, and that has certainly kept the local industry moving. The country is also a Netflix favorite; the streamer recently announced six original Colombian shows scheduled for launch between this year and next, including young adult fantasy Always a Witch; the action-thriller Wild District, starring Narcos alum Juan Pablo Raba; and the crime drama Green Frontier, produced by Ciro Guerra (Embrace of the Serpent) and Dynamo, which handled local production logistics for Ang Lee’s Gemini Man, starring Will Smith.

  • Chile

    The good news: Chile’s thriving film sector triumphed at last year’s Oscars with the foreign-language win for Sebastian Lelio’s A Fantastic Woman. The bad news: Market share for local films at the box office continues to struggle against Hollywood’s dominance — 2017 saw a record low of 0.96 percent. To make matters worse, the local market often relies on the success of comedies from producer-director Nicolas Lopez, who is now facing a sexual assault charge.

  • Mexico

    While “The Three Amigos” (Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro G. Inarritu) won four of the past five Oscars for best director, at home, film production is on the rise. Theaters (owned mostly by Cinepolis and Cinemex) keep expanding in Mexico, but, as in the rest of LatAm, concentration runs deep and Hollywood blockbusters take most of the market share as mainstream local comedies battle for the rest.

    This story first appeared in The Hollywood Reporter's Nov. 4 daily issue at the American Film Market.