Hungarian Audiences Reject Mid-Budget Movies


    BUDAPEST: Blockbuster films are taking a greater share of the box office, and art house films are stable, but Hungarian audiences are disappearing for mid-budget films.

    Despite a financial crisis, illegal downloading and stronger competition in the entertainment, box office for the top 50 films on the market rose 28% in 2011 (largely due to the advent of 3D) to 24.21 m EUR, and 11% in 2012, to 27.11 m EUR.


    Films at the very top of the list did even better. The top 18 grossing films (box office of 350,000 or more) nearly doubled their take of the box office in 2011, to 12.5 m EUR, and another 20% in 2011, to 15 m EUR in 2012. At the same time, mid-sized films saw their box office decline to a smaller share of the total, while overall attendance declined 10 per cent in the past two years to 9.57 million.


    The result has left Hungarian distribution divided into two groups: Hollywood blockbusters and art house films. Mid-level distribution appears to be vanishing from Hungarian cinemas. Art house films are facing fewer screening possibilities as art house cinemas struggle to survive. Two small Budapest cinemas were closed in the past year, (KINO (http://www.akino.hu) and Odeon-Lloyd (http://odeonlloyd.com), while other art house cinemas saw substantial rises: Mluvesz Cinema increased 19 per cent and Puskin Cinema increased 11 per cent.


    Sandor Feldmajer, vice president of the Association of Hungarian Film Distributors, said, “The change has the worst impact on the middle films, which could have 100,000 viewers, because the audience would rather wait a couple of months until the DVD gets released or they can find the film on a VoD platform or a thematic TV channel screens it.”