Finance: Brazil boosts protectionism for local films

08/01/2011 at 1:00 pm Leave a comment

Brazil is taking extra steps to protect its film industry even as the homegrown movie “Elite Squad 2” just became the country’s most popular film ever, surpassing “Avatar” in the process.
A new presidential decree, signed a day before outgoing President “Lula” da Silva delivered office to Dilma Roussef on Saturday, increases the screen quota for exhibition of local films in all Brazilian theaters.
This type of protectionist policy has been implemented in the Brazilian film industry for decades, but it hadn’t been updated for some years. Since 2007, theaters were obligated to screen local productions for a minimum period of 28 days in the case of one-screen theaters. That number could go as high as 63 days for multiplexes. The new standard follows the growth in local releases, to 80 films in each of the last two years from 30 in 2001.
The new legislation maintains the number of days but increases the number of films that theaters will have to offer during that period. Single-screen theaters must now show three different films (instead of two); for multiplexes with more than 10 screens, the number goes from 11 to 14.
According to figures by Filme B, the audience for local films increased by 60% to 25.5 million — the highest mark since Brazilian cinema’s big retomada (“resumption”) in the early 1990s. The box office witnessed an even bigger increase of 71%, around 225 million reais ($135 million).
The year’s top-10 films, headed by Jose Padilha‘s “Elite Squad 2,” included two other Brazilian films. Wagner de Assis“Nosso Lar” and Daniel Filho‘s “Chico Xavier” made the cut behind “Avatar,” “Shrek Forever After,” “Twilight: Eclipse,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Toy Story 3,” “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel,” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”
Overall, a total of 134.8 million tickets were sold last year — a 20% increase; box office sales rose 30% to 1.26 billion reais ($758 million). The increase was helped along by the growth of 3D screens, which went from 97 to 262.

Source: Reuters

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