Mexican Cinema Claims Small Percentage of Country's Total 2010 Box Office


MEXICO CITY -- Theater chains in Mexico are enjoying a record-breaking year in admissions, yet homegrown fare continues to struggle at the box office.
Exhibitors here expect to close out the year with 191 million tickets sold, which positions Mexico as the world's fifth largest exhibition market in terms of attendance figures, according to an annual report by the National Film Chamber. The report ranks Mexico fifth behind India, the U.S., China and France.
Despite the upswing in revenues, domestic releases captured a mere 5.6% of the box office share, a disappointing result when compared to double-digit market share figures reported in other top Latin American film-producing nations such as Argentina and Brazil.
Opinions vary on why Mexican cinema, which has seen a spike in production volume in recent years, has come up short at the box office. Some industry players blame Hollywood, saying studio fare is gobbling up the bulk of Mexico's 5,000-plus screens. Marina Stavenhagen, head of state-run financing agency Imcine, believes that's only part of the problem.
"Eight-nine percent of public film funding goes toward production development and only 11% goes toward distribution, but there are many other factors," she said at a Friday news conference.
No Mexican films appeared on the list of the year's top 10 highest-grossing films. Of the 310 titles screened here this year, Disney's Toy Story 3 topped the charts with 777 million pesos (about US $63 million).
The two biggest local hits of the year were the romantic comedy No Eres Tu, Soy Yo (It's Not You, It's Me) and the narco-themed political satire El Infierno (Hell). All told, Mexico produced 68 features and released 54 pictures, yet only No Eres Tu exceeded the 100-million-peso mark.
The National Film Chamber projects continued growth for next year, estimating that theater operators in Mexico will sell nearly 205 million tickets.