It’s estimated that Latin America‘s share of the global filmed entertainment market will hit $6.8B by 2017, according to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers report. But will the region’s biggest country, Brazil, continue its growth? And how is Hollywood planning for next year’s World Cup? Elsewhere in the region, local language commercial fare was big for the studios. Here’s a look back at 2013 and some thoughts for the future in some of the Latin American territories:
Keen to take advantage of a prime holiday release date, Lionsgate sent The Hunger Games: Catching Fire to Brazil ahead of any other territory in November. The sequel tripled the first film’s opening take there and now has about $17.6M to date. Brazil has grown steadily, but I’m told it’s underserved with about 2,500 screens for a population of over 201M. Box office in 2012 was $737M, a 6% increase on the previous year, and 2013 looks set for another jump once the final figures are tallied. As of late November, it was already up 9.5% and December brought releases of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug and comedy Till Luck Do Us Part 2, the sequel to 2012’s No. 1 local film Até Que A Sorte Nos Separe by Roberto Santucci (replete with cameo by Jerry Lewis). It’s been a strong year for local comedies including André Pellenz’ Minha Mãe E Uma Peça: O Filme and Meu Passado Me Condena: O Filme. Market share for Brazilian movies in 2012 was 9.5%, which was down from the previous year. But it should be higher in 2013. Still, some are skeptical that overall sales can keep up apace in coming years. A studio exec says they have “a hard time seeing Brazil jump” any further. The country “had this big boom with a lot of local stuff, but it’s hard to see it doing it again. They’re so driven by (movies like) The Avengers. They love that stuff.” Another U.S. studio exec contends, “Brazil has slowed. The cost of exhibition is very high as they are under-screened. But local productions drive growth as do family movies like Rio.” Read More »
If the rest of the world is as receptive to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as moviegoers in Brazil, then the guys at Lionsgate are going to need a bigger boat for all that cash. Estimates are that next weekend’s domestic gross could be $160 million for the sequel in North America. Yesterday, Brazil was the first market to kick off the global theatrical release of the sequel at 962 screens. The film grossed $2.4 million its first day, and that number is more than triple the opening day gross of the first film. The Hunger Games had a first day gross of $737,000. Yesterday started a long holiday weekend in Brazil, so we will keep you posted on the final tally, which comes one week before the film’s big day and date opening November 22 in the US and 64 other territories that include Canada, UK, Australia, Germany, Spain, China, South Korea, Russia, Mexico, Scandinavia, and The Netherlands. France, Belgium, and Italy open the following week with Japan opening on December 27th.
The film has been premiering aboard, and its Hollywood preem happens Monday night. Since the high tide raises all boats when it comes to box office, these signs are something everyone can be excited about, with the possible exception of Carl Icahn.
Over the past several years, Woody Allen has shuttled between the U.S. and some of Europe’s big cities to make his films. If the mayor of Rio has his way, Allen will be flying to Latin America for his next effort. Mayor Eduardo Paes told Brazilian newspaper O Globo that he will pay “whatever it takes” to get Allen to shoot there. Paes further pledged, “I’ll pay 100% of the production.” He said he’s gone to great lengths to express his desire to Allen, including speaking with his sister, producer Letty Aronson, and getting a message to him via architect Santiago Calatrava. Brazil has been in the news recently for uprisings over, among other things, government spending on the upcoming World Cup and Summer Olympics. But Paes said he would put up with expected criticisms from locals for handing over “the millions” that would be required.
EXCLUSIVE: While I was exiting a panel at Comic-Con in San Diego last month, a voice over the loudspeaker in Hall H said there was going to be a surprise look at The Zero Theorem, the new film by Terry Gilliam. After a conspiratorial intro in which Gilliam said he’d been kidnapped and laid out the plot, he proceeded to show the first 10 minutes of his movie. It introduced a brightly colored, high-tech futuristic world and a hairless protagonist (Christoph Waltz) who wants only to be away from the bombardment of messages and find a purpose in this noisy world. David Thewlis, newcomer Melanie Thierry also star, and Matt Damon’s in the movie too. The images were textbook Gilliam, but the circumstances were highly unusual. Film distributors usually lobby to get Hall H space at the Con; this film was financed by Voltage’s Nicolas Chartier after Gilliam failed yet another attempt to make his film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. A distributor probably won’t be in place until after the film premieres at Venice. Gilliam and cohorts arranged Comic-Con with a phone call: Whether for his Monty Python artistry, 12 Monkeys, Time Bandits or Brazil, Gilliam is an icon to the geek crowd. Intrigued, I seized the chance to talk with him about the film. Gilliam is no stranger to struggling with studios and budgets (The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen, for instance), but he finds today’s Hollywood summer film gambles to be dizzying. And at a time when production and marketing costs have hit unimaginable heights, Gilliam made The Zero Theorem for closer to what he spent directing Monty Python And The Holy Grail back in 1975 than the going price of a blockbuster these days.
DEADLINE: That 10minutes of The Zero Theorem you showed at Comic-Con established a world where the protagonist is assaulted by advertising messages that speak directly to him. Aren’t we already being assaulted that way?
GILLIAM: It’s a pain in the ass, all this technology. It’s all around you. In some ways, it’s good. Just yesterday, we were doing work — people in several different countries, working on the same project at the same time, communicating with others. That intrigues me.
DEADLINE: It also plays well into the totalitarian themes you’ve occasionally explored. Brazil seems like old-school repression compared to what is possible in a tech world where you can’t hide.
GILLIAM: That obsesses me of late. How can you be alone? I have a house in Italy; we’re up on a hilltop. There is no phone, no television and no Internet. We have to drive down to the local village and go to the local bar, which has Wi-Fi, to look at email. I prefer this, but when making films, this technology couldn’t be better for us. It makes life simpler, makes it possible for a guy who is a good matte painter to not have to be in the office next to me. He can do it in his log cabin in Oregon. But the other side is having the NSA keeping tabs on everything you do. And there’s Amazon, constantly suggesting to me all the things I need to buy. Fuck off! Read More »
After doubling their box office takings over the past five years, the BRIC countries will see combined revenues of $12.1B and account for 25% of global sales by 2017, according to research group IHS. That would put the Big Four on a par with where IHS expects the North American box office to be at that time. (It was $10.8B in 2012.) Driving growth are increased ticket prices and new construction — China is building cinemas daily and is expected to have about 20,000 screens by 2015 alone. IHS analyst Charlotte Jones also noted the loosening of quotas in China for 3D and IMAX films, the popularity of premium pics in Russia and the rise of shopping centers in Brazil as market drivers. Read More »
That’s what some analysts here predict after looking at the deal Disney announced yesterday to license movies and TV shows to NetMovies Entertainment, a Brazilian competitor to Netflix. The release says this is “the first major global studio deal for NetMovies,” which is described as “Brazil’s largest and most comprehensive online subscription service for movies and TV series” with more than 35,000 titles in its library. The multiyear deal will enable NetMovies’ subscribers to see a “large array” of Disney’s movie and TV content via broadband — including the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films, Wild Hogs, Desperate Housewives, Criminal Minds, and Brothers And Sisters. Customers also can rent DVD and Blu-ray discs. Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Vasily Karasyov says this morning that the agreement with Disney ”illustrates our argument that studios will work hard to ensure that Netflix isn’t the only buyer of streaming rights.” And although BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield questions how well financed NetMovies is, with competitors such as Amazon, Apple, Dish Network, and Google ramping up their online video businesses here Disney’s agreement with NetMovies could cause Netflix’s “wounds to fester” as it tries to expand in Latin America. International growth “is becoming more important daily” for Netflix, he says.
A report today from the UK’s Financial Times headlined “Disney Axing Local Language Film Unit” wasn’t really news for most in Hollywood and certainly not Burbank. Disney backed away from its strategy of producing local language films with local actors and made the decision to close the small Burbank office overseeing the effort in June. That was spelled out in a Fast Company profile of studio chief Rich Ross, who early on in his tenure had set up the team to focus on limited-release Disney-branded films in Brazil, Russia, India and China. The economics were always tricky and the good will generated was tough to quantify. When Ross saw big box office returns on Pirates Of The Caribbean 4 ($65M in Russia) and Cars 2 in those same countries, he decided it made more sense to spend the money on marketing and distributing the studios’ franchise films than to bank on local talent. Disney will still consider attaching its brand to local productions. But the decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.
Two TV productions from Brazil are among the eight nominees for this year’s International Emmy Awards for current affairs and news. They are Discovery Networks Latin America’s The Assassination of Jean Charles Meneses, about the fatal shooting of a Brazilian immigrant mistaken for a suicide bomber in London, and TV Globo’s Jornal Nactional: War on Drugs, which detailed a raid on a drug dealer’s stronghold. Also on the list, Britain’s Sky News Live at Five: Inside the Taliban earned a nom, as did Back from the Brink: Inside the Chilean Mine Disaster, from Japan Broadcasting Corp’s NHK. The winners will be announced Sept. 28 in New York.