Spanish Box Office Drops 3% in 2010 to $874 Million

Local films see 40% dive in revenues from the bumper year of 2009.


MADRID -- After starting the first half of the year with a 10% rise in revenue, year-end 2010 Spanish box office sales slipped overall 3% to €655 million ($873.8 million), buttressed primarily by 3D titles and their corresponding 40% price hike over regular ticket prices, according to Rentrak.

Admissions dropped 10% to 100 million, with October to December not posting a single day that out-performed the previous year’s figures.

“As far as sales go, 2010 was more than respectable, it’s the third highest sales in the past decade,” explained Rentrak general manager Arturo Guillen. “But admissions dropped badly and should be viewed within the context of the World Cup and Spain’s national team playing and winning the final.”

The three top grossing films in 2010 were Avatarwith $69.3 million from 2010, Toy Story 3 with $32.7 million and Alice in Wonderland with $30.4 million.

“At least at this point, audiences are willing to pay more for a value-added experience,” Guillen said.

Official figures from the Culture Ministry aren’t in yet, but a preliminary take shows Spanish titles plunging 40% in revenues from the bumper year of 2009, with some $140 million thanks to a handful of high performers like Alejandro Amenabar’s Agora, which raked in $28.8 million in 2009.

Last year, Fernando Gonzalez Molina’s Three Steps Above Heaven cornered $11.4 million and Guillem MoralesJulia’s Eyes took $9.2 million.

In addition to rampant piracy and the World Cup, analysts also pointed to the calendar as a possible culprit, with traditional admissions jackpots like Christmas and New Year falling on the weekend.