On average around 20 Czech full length feature films are released in Czech cinemas every year, most of them supported by grants from the Czech Ministry of Culture´s State fund for support and development of cinematography. However, in 2008 that number jumped to 38 and in 2009, a record 44 films were premiered. The increase was due to new film financing based on fees for new digital licenses, which extends through 2011. However, in 2010, film production is expected to decline below 2008 levels. As of October, just 27 films were produced in the Czech Republic. Support for film production and distribution was CZK 230 m, about the same as in 2009 (222.6m CZK).
Some of the decrease can be attributed to Czech movies which had to postpone their premieres, due to various difficulties. One of those is Lidice the second war drama based on a true story of a 1942´s Nazi massacre in the village of Lidice, in Central Bohemia. With a budget 70 million CZK, and a record 20 million CZK grant, Lidice had an extremely long pre-production. Director Alice Nellis had to step down from the project due to illness and Petr Nikolaev replaced her. The demanding project finally started shooting in June and finished at the end of September. It is in post-production, with a premiere is planned for June 2011.
Another long expected project is the animated film Fimfarum 3 by directors Vlasta Pospíšilová, Kristina Dufková and David Súkup, that consists three fairy tales based on a book by Jan Werich, combining classic puppet and computer animation, which received a 7m CZK grant (with a budget of 30 million), and The Little Fishgirl by director Jan Balej, that received a record 10m CZK grant for animation. Both movies are produced by Maur film (www.maurfilm.cz). While Fimfarum 3 is expected in Febuary 2011 in cinemas, The Little Fishgirl is still in pre-production, due to its demanding 3D technology production. Previously, a 2012 release was planned, but revised scheduling should see Little Fishergirl enter international distribution in 2014. With a budget of CZK 50 million, Balej´s movie will be far the most expensive animation in Czech history.
Czech cinemas reached record sales and attendance in 2009 with box office of 1.25 billion crowns (50.4 mil. euros) and attendance of 12.4 million viewers, according to the Czech Audiovisual Producer´s Association APA (www.asociaceproducentu.cz). However, in 2009, the percentage of viewers watching Czech films dropped to just 21%, the lowest share since 2002, and far below the 2008 share of 39.7%, despite almost a 20% in the number of Czech films in distribution.
Box office could be very similar or even better in 2010, as in August 2010, box office was over 1.05 billion crowns again and attendance topped 9.3 million viewers, according to Czech Union of Film Distributors (www.ufd.cz).
The most successful Czech movie of 2010 was the romantic comedy Women in Temptation by director and screenwriter Jiří Vejdělek and production company Infinity (www.infinity.cz) and distribution company Falcon (www.falcon.cz). The fresh comedy about three generation of women in one family is the only Czech movie that reached the 1 million viewers in 2010, with attendance of 1,031,000 and box office of CZK 122 million.
One of the most successful Czech movie of 2010 was the criminal thriller Kajínek by director Petr Jákl and his J.B.J. Film company (www.jbj-film.cz), that attracted more than 685,000 Czech viewers during 10 weeks since its release in August, with domestic box office of 83 million crowns. Jan Svěrák´s animated fairy tale Kuky Returns produced and distributed by Falcon (www.falcon.cz) attracted 260,000 with ticket sales of CZK 28 million. In October, the Czech comedy Novel for Men based on the novel by Czech best-selling author Michal Viewegh and directed by Tomáš Bařina and produced Rudolf Biermann and his company In Film Praha (www.infilm.cz) drew some 285,000 viewers in only three weeks, with ticket sales of 35 million crowns, according to UFD.
"Although we counted on the global economic crisis and the possibility that Czech film fans would save their money instead of spend it on entertainment in cinema, the reality is fortunately different," said Pavel Strnad, Czech producer and head of APA.
In 2009, box office reached 1.151 billion CZK, an increase of CZK 31 million (1.2 million euros) over 2008, with and average ticket price of CZK 104.3 (4.1 euro) - topping 100 czk for the first time -- which remained the same in the first half of 2010. Multiplexes accounted for 87% of 2009/2010 Czech cinema revenues. However, attendance fell by 450,000 people, to a total in 2009 of 11.04 million.
"We believe that the reason of this growth depends both on appealing Czech films, such as Líbáš jako Bůh - You Kiss Like a God by director Marie Poledňáková, which attracted almost one million viewers to cinemas in 2009, and on 3D Hollywood smash hits, such as Avatar and and Ice Age 3, that were also extremely successful among Czech film fans," Strnad said.
In the Top 10 of the most successful movies in Czech cinemas in 2009, there were four Czech productions. Poledňáková´s comedy You Kiss Like a God, produced and distributed by Falcon (www.falcon.cz) was the most successful movie in 2009 with sales of almost CZK 90 million (3.6 million euro).