2009 Box Office Review - Mexico - Part 1
According to Canacine, Mexico ranks fifth worldwide in movie attendance and there are 4503 screens across the country, of which 90% are mini (2-7) and multiplexes (8-15).
With 358 releases this year, down from last year’s 375, Mexican audiences embraced 3D “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” as the top film with the largest opening weekend at M$124.6 million across 970 prints for a M$128.5 thousand theater average, culminating in a M$539 million finish for the year. Last year’s top release “Dark Knight” earned less than half of this year’s performance with its M$258 million total.
“Avatar” earned M$535 million in gross receipts and was second best performer with the very late year release date of December 17. It was also the widest release of the year at 1,123 prints.
Warner’s “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” was third with grosses of M$290 million and had the second best opening weekend of the year with M$90.7 thousand across 1000 screens.
Sony’s “2012” captured M$254.5 million at the box office to come in fourth for the year.
The only Wednesday opening of the top ten, Paramount’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” earned M$247 million.
Independent distributor Corazon’s “Twilight New Moon” earned M$246.5 million and had the second best opening weekend theater average at M$97 thousand after “Ice Age 3.” Last year’s “Twilight” first installment tallied M$135 million.
Although Disney’s “Up” was also in 3D, the film took just M$186 million to place seventh here.
Tom Hanks in “Angels & Demons” earned M$177 million followed by “Fast & Furious’” cumulative box office of M$174.7 million, which spent five weeks at number one.
“Monsters vs. Aliens” M$139.5 million was the final entry in the top ten for the year.
In 2008, Mexican productions managed to garner 9% of the total box office -- a 7% increase in market share over 2007 -- with 45 of the 318 films released made locally. Much of this boost can be linked to Mexico's Article 226 fiscal stimulus program that started in 2006. It provided funding to 57 of the 70 local films produced in ‘08.
Canana Films is perhaps Mexico's busiest shingle at the moment and has placed itself at the center of the trend. Founded by Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna and producer Pablo Cruz, Canana will bow the first pic from its deal with U's Focus Features, Cary Fukunaga's "Sin nombre." The project is emblematic of the kinds of ties being developed between Hollywood and Mexico.
Both Disney's Latin American production arm Miravista and Sony's Columbia Pictures Mexico have been building up local production for some years.
After 2006 co-production "Cansada de besar sapos" (Tired of Kissing Frogs) from helmer Jorge Colon, Disney is teaming up with Juan E. Garcia of Run Jorge Run to make dramedy "Sin ella."
Sony is set to fully fund director Issa Lopez's naughty-boys-get-caught pic "Amigos imaginarios," following the box office success of her last film, "Casi Divas," and her script for "Ninas mal" (Charm School) -- both of which had Sony backing.
And, among its upcoming co-productions, Warner Bros. will back producer Walter Navas' next project, "Caida libre," (Free Fall) along with Mexican star Barbara Mori's company.
With 49 digital screens in early 2009 Mexico leads the digital transition in Latin American countries.
Ellen Pittleman, http://hybridentus.com, is a veteran studio executive based in Los Angeles. Most recently, she served as SVP, International Co-Productions and Worldwide Acquisitions for Paramount Pictures. She also launched the DVD Premiere group there, with films including Jonathan Demme’s “Neil Young: Heart of Gold” and the sequel to the $100MM+ “Save the Last Dance.” Working from a marketing and distribution perspective, she consults on strategic planning, deal negotiation, acquisitions, film library valuation and feature development with clients from Rio to London to Beijing. She’s also currently developing a feature on George Foreman’s comeback years, among other projects.