Domestic hits deliver box office highs as Spanish cinema booms

Spanish films snagged a domestic market share of nearly 20 percent this year, one of its best home-turf results, with five movies drawing over a million viewers, the country's main film producers lobby said Tuesday.

Domestic hits deliver box office highs as Spanish cinema booms

“Spanish cinema has reconnected with the public. Our productions are achieving historic shares in recent years thanks to the joint effort of all sectors, including television stations,” the head of the Federation of Audiovisual Producers (FAPAE), Ramon Colon, said.

“There are more films. There is not just one big movie, there are several movies that have surpassed a million viewers. That is very important, you don't depend on just one big success.”

Films made in Spain earned over €100 million ($109 million) and punched a 18.9 percent domestic market share through December 20th, the group said.

That slice of Spain's total box office cake will likely rise a notch to surpass 19 percent by the end of the year as several Spanish films are still scheduled to open, the group added.

It is the third best domestic share after 2012 when it reached 19.5 percent, and last year when it hit a record 25.5 percent, thanks in part to the surprise hit “Spanish Affair”, a romantic comedy about a slick-haired young man from southern Spain and his feisty Basque girlfriend.

The movie was not only the highest grossing film of 2014, but the all-time highest grossing Spanish film ever, having taken in over €55 million in ticket sales.

The sequel to “Spanish Affair” is the highest grossing film in Spain this year, with 4.5 million viewers so far and the third highest-grossing film ever.

In total five Spanish films drew over one million viewers in 2015 and are among the 20 highest-grossing films of the year, FAPAE said.   

As in other European nations, the popularity of Hollywood blockbusters has edged out domestic films from theatres in Spain.   

But in recent years Spanish filmmakers have churned out a wider range of films and sought to appeal to more mainstream audiences.   

They also teamed up with local television broadcasters who can flex their marketing muscle to promote films they co-produce, resulting in bigger audiences.

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‘The Girls’ wins big at Spain’s live-streamed 2021 Goya awards

Pilar Palomero’s debut coming of age film ‘Girls’ was the big winner at the 2021 Goya Awards on Saturday, held via a live-streamed ceremony.

‘The Girls’ wins big at Spain's live-streamed 2021 Goya awards
Antonio Banderas presented the 35th Goya Awards with Spanish journalist María Casado. Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP

The Goyas, Spain’s prestigious annual film awards ceremony, was held at the Teatro del Soho CaixaBank in Málaga. It was a hybrid on-site/virtual ceremony, with no audience nor nominees attending in person.

‘The Girls’, a generation portrait of Spanish women who would now be in their 40s, swept the awards, winning best picture, best new director, best original screenplay, and best cinematography.

Nominees appeared on a large video screen in a Zoom-like setup, and winners accepted prizes from their own homes with their families, giving the ceremony a more intimate feel than usual.

Málaga-born Antonio Banderas directed the ceremony, and other big stars such as Pedro Almodóvar, Penélope Cruz, Paz Vega, and Alejandro Amenábar also made appearances to present the awards.

The non-audience format gave the ceremony, which is broadcast on TV, a larger reach than usual. Celebrities including Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Charlize Theron, and Isabelle Huppert sent in pre-recorded messages of support.

Just two days before international women’s day, gender issues featured strongly in nominated films and acceptance speeches. Women won almost as much as men, taking 12 categories, and Daniela Cajías became the first woman director of photography to win the best cinematography award for “Girls.”

In other categories, Mario Casas won best actor for “No Matarás” (Cross the Line), about a good-natured man who has an unexpectedly deadly confrontation, and Patricia López Arnaíz won best actress for her role in Ane (Ane is Missing), in which she plays a mother who investigates her daughter’s disappearance.

The Honorary Goya was awarded to actress Angela Molina, who starred in Luis Buñuel’s last film, “The Obscure Object of Desire”.

Last year, Pedro Almodóvar’s semi-autobiographical film Pain and Glory was the star of the ceremony, winning seven honours, including best picture, best director, original screenplay, and best actor for Antonio Banderas.