Wednesday, September 18, 2013

not showing at a cinema near you

I only just discovered that the annual statistical yearbook from the BFI (British Film Institute) has statistics on everything, including the foreign language films that I would like to see in cinemas but that fail to turn up. So I had a good look at the BFI statistical yearbook 2013:

According to the country of origin stats on page 17, 151 (23%) of the movies released in the UK in 2012 came from other European countries (198 from the US, 162 from the UK). I have a nagging suspicion that figure includes one-off showings at festivals or at specialised cinemas like the Ciné Lumière at the Institut Français in London. At least the number that made it to Oxford cinemas is definitely 5 times smaller. They account for 4.8 % of box office takings, but of course one could argue endlessly which is the hen and which the egg in this story.

Also see the chapter 5, "Specialised Films", which includes specific stats on foreign language films. Apparently, 230 films in 32 foreign languages were released in 2012, accounting for 35.5% of all releases, but taking only 2% of the box-office. Allegedly the number has increased from 96 in 2001, which is contrary to my impression. This is in line with an increase in total releases (and in audience figures), however, so the percentage is stable at 35.5%

Some specific languages (including all that have 10 or more films): French 49 films (I am sure that fewer than 12 were shown here! ), Hindi 44, Tamil 21, Malayalam 19, Turkish 13, Punjabi 10, Spanish 10, German 8, Arabic 4, Italian 3, Mandarin 2, Dutch 1.

On average, foreign language films play at 20 sites on their widest release – the figure for English language films is 159. Commercially most successful foreign language film in 2012 was Untouchable. Three other French films made the top 10 (of non-Hindi foreign language box-office): Amour, Rust and Bone, The kid with a bike (I actually saw this one!). The cumulative stats for the last 12 years have Amélie in 3rd and Volver in 7th position.

Speaking of which, German film “Die Wand” shows exactly once at the Phoenix Picturehouse in Oxford, next Tuesday at 6pm. The same slot will host Fernando Trueba's The artist and the model later this year, which allegedly is on release from this week. After a tweet from me, the distributor, Axiom films, pointed me to the list of "tour dates", so you can check if it comes near you.

Londoners also have the benefit of the annual London Spanish Film Festival at the Ciné Lumière, which will run from September 27th to October 9th this year.

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