Slovakia's Box Office National Hit: Bathory

By Jana Kadlecova
    Bathory is not only the box office national hit in Slovakia for 2008; it is the most successful movie in Slovak history, smashing the competition with over 1,465,226 euros (43 994 879 SK) in box office.

    Measure that against the Hollywood 1997 hit Titanic, which earned 965,829 euros, and you get a clear picture of the film's astonishing success. "The results are based on statistics through October 31. The number of the viewers in Slovakia is 379,404," Zuzana Szabova, PR and marketing manager from the distribution company Bontonfilm, told FNE. That equals nearly 10% of the Slovak population, or the entire population of its capital city Bratislava.

    Bathory premiered at the Karlovy Vary film festival on July 10 and was released in Slovak cinemas the same day. In the first weekend of its release Bathory drew 36,000 viewers. In comparison, the first week-end results of another highly successful Slovak film released this year Music was approximately 4,000 viewers - already quite a high number by Slovak standards.

    Bathory is a Czech-Slovak-Hungarian-British co-production and the most expensive movie ever to originate in Central Europe. It was distributed in Slovakia and in Czech Republic by the Bontonfilm s r.o. http://www.bontonfilm.cz/bathory.html

    The 11 million euro historical thriller was directed by legendary Slovak director Juraj Jakubisko who now resides in the Czech Republic with his wife, Slovak actress and producer of the film Deana Jakubiskova-Horvathova.

    Despite of the box office success, Bathory was not nominated to represent Slovakia at Oscars in the category Best Foreign Language Film, voted on by the Slovak film and television academy SFTA (www.sfta.sk). This aroused controversy in Slovakia, because of the film's record-breaking attendance. SFTA's official stance was that the film, which has an international cast (there was not single Slovak actor in a main role) and was filmed in four languages, did not meet Oscar requirements.

    The film stars Anna Friel in the title role of a blood-thirsty countess, along with an internationally recognized cast that includes Vincent Regan, Hans Matheson, Karel Roden, Deana Jakubiskova-Horvathova, Bolek Polivka, Jiri Madl, Lucie Vondrackova and Franco Nero.

    "Bathory was recently screened at the Film Festival Cottbus, at the Lund International Fantastic Film, at the European Film Festival (Festival de Cine Europeo de Sevilla) and at the American Film Festival AFI FEST in Washington. It is planned for distribution in Hungary by Budapest Film Kft (www.budapestfilm.hu)," Szabova said.