Controversial trends in film distribution in Hungary

By Dávid Dercsényi
    In the first five month of 2009 the income of Hungarian film distributors has grown 12% compared to the same period of 2008, reaching HUF 3.99 billion (EUR 14.7 million).

    The total attendence has grown as well, from 3.74 million to 3.88 million, although the number of screenings has decreased from 196,000 to 176,000. The average price of ticket grew by only HUF 2, to HUF 1016 (about EUR 4). The results show a shift in the trend of the previous years; until 2008 attendance was decreasing.

    But while the whole market seems to be growing, the distribution of independent films is in crisis. The art house cinema network called Artmozi Hálózat (www.artmozi.hu) has serious problems; the cult cinema Bem in Budapest closed in the beginning of July due to financial reasosns, though it had a temporary re-opening.

    The biggest distributors have left the market: SPI International Hungary (www.spi.hu ) left in April 2009, and Budapest Film (portal.budapestfilm.hu) has suspended distribution activity until a new investor joins the company.

    Independent distribution is a minor part of the Hungarian market. The two major distributors UIP-Dunafilm (www.uipduna.hu) and Intercom (www.intercom.hu) have 65% of the market.