Hungarian Audience Numbers Up But Indie Distribution Losing Ground

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

    Total audience figures grew 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 ticket price grew by only HUF 2, to HUF 1016 (about EUR 4). The results show a new trend as until 2008 audience figures were declining.

    Leading independent distributor Budapest Film is looking for a strategic investor, but it continues to operate as usual, and is planning to release 25 titles theatrically this year. Releases from August include Last Chance Harvey, Drag Me to Hell, Two Lovers, Broken Embraces, Trefa, Utolso idok, Saw VI, Cheri and Sunshine Cleaning."

    But while the whole market seems to be growing, some independent film distributors are in trouble. Art house cinema network Artmozi Hálózat (http://www.artmozi.hu/) has serious problems and the cult cinema Bem in Budapest closed at the beginning of July.

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