Thursday, 24 July 2008

Argentina movie industry faces challenge ... with a challenge

Writing in Variety, Charles Newbery takes a look at the current state of the Argentine movie sector. Cinema attendances have fallen sharply in recent months in the wake of the economic downturn. In the first half of 2008 homegrown films grossed 5.8% of ticket sales, down from 9% in 2007 and 18% in 2000, while Hollywood held on to its 80%-85% share. But with the winter season on its way, there is some optimism that things will improve. Most keenly awaited is "High School Musical: el desafio" ('The Challenge'), a local version of Disney Channel's "High School Musical," which opened last on 150 screens. This movie is produced by Disney-backed Patagonik Film Group.

Another local movie with great marketing potential is "Valentina", distributed by Pachamama Cine. Targeted at 6-14 year old girls, "Valentina" is reported to be based on a brand of clothes, school products and toys that sells more than Hello Kitty and Barbie combined in Argentina, which bodes well for merchandising spin-offs.

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