Back in November 2018 panellists at Festival do Rio’s RioMarket were unanimously optimistic about the state of the Brazilian theatrical film market for 2019, after what all agreed had been a difficult year in 2018 for distribution, exhibition and getting “bums on seats”.
It turns out those panelists had a right to be optimistic. Ticket sales increased from 163.4 million in 2018 to 172.2 million in 2019, with 19.7 million of those being for “Avengers: Endgame”. Revenues in reais (the Brazilian currency) hit the historic high of R$2.74 billion in 2019, up 13% from 2.42 billion in 2018 and beating the previous high of R$2.7 billion in 2017.The year also saw the opening of another 174 screens, taking the total to 3,505. Another record.
Domestic Brazilian titles were responsible for 11.5% of that revenue in 2019, or R$315m, up 13% from R$279m in 2018, but actual ticket sales for Brazilian films were down 1.2% from 22.9m tickets in 2018 to 22.6m in 2019, with 2.5 million of those, or nearly 10%, sold in the final week of 2019 thanks to the comedy “Minha Mãe É Uma Peça 3” (My Mom is a Character 3). 327 Brazilian titles were released in 2019, down 11% from 367 in 2018, while international titles released in 2019 were 560, down 1.7% from 570 in 2018.
For nearly a decade, up to 2017, Brazil’s theatrical market had experienced growth. It had to stop at some point, so after eight consecutive years of increased ticket sales and revenues, 2017 became the year of no growth in Brazil, but the numbers were still very strong. 2018 was to see a further decline in ticket sales, and the first decline in 12 years in box office revenues in the local currency. But head offices in the US were still not complaining about the results they were seeing from Brazil, still one of the world’s largest cinema going markets.
Cinema admissions in Brazil had now gone from 89.1 million in 2008 to 112.7m in 2009; 134.9m in 2010; 143.2m in 2011; 146.6m in 2012, the year Brazil hosted the World Cup; 149.5m in 2013; 155.6m in 2014; 173m in 2015, to the record breaking 184.3 million in 2016, surprisingly the year of the Rio Olympics. In 2017, no record, but still the very respectable sales of 181 million ticket were achieved, a drop of just 1.5%, compared with 2016, but still the second best year on record, before the drop of 10.1% to 163.4m in 2018, but now an increase of 7.6% to 172.2m ticket sales in 2019.
The strength and volatility of the US dollar against the Brazilian real has meant dollar values were down in 2019. 2017’s gross had represented US$749.7 million at the time, up from US$726m in 2016 and just US$486m in 2015, while 2018’s dollar revenues were down to US$630m, and 2019’s box office is estimated to have been worth around US$594 million. But if exchange rates worked against them, the studios should still be happy with the number of “bums on seats”.
In 2018 factors contributing to what was seen as a disappointing year for ticket sales and revenues for the big screen in Brazil included the World Cup, the Brazilian Presidential Elections, and a truckers strike that almost brought Brazil to a halt for two weeks. Panellists at Rio Market also mentioned a disappointing line up of both domestic and international titles that had failed to find or excite an audience in Brazil. In fact 2018 was generally very sluggish in Brazil with only 127 million tickets having been sold up until the end of September, mainly thanks to the April release of “Avengers: Infinity War”, before the market showed signs of recovery in October and early November thanks to “A Star is Born”, “Venom”, “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”, and in December “Aquaman”.
Panellists at RioMarket were particularly encouraged by “A Star is Born” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” because these two films did not fill the normal blockbuster form of an established franchise or action character. All panellists, however, noted that both for international and domestic Brazilian releases, it was around the top ten to 15 releases that did really well, with the other 400+ titles struggling and offering a lot of room for improvement.
2019’s box office, however, was firmly dominated again by established franchises or action characters with “Avengers: Endgame” becoming the most watched film of all time in Brazil with sales of 19.2 million tickets, and Disney’s “The Lion King” selling 15.8 million to make it the third most watched of all time after “Titanic” in 1998. “Avengers: Infinity War” is fourth on the list.
The average occupancy rates of the 3,500 screens in Brazil, the majority in multiplexes and over 30% of them in the state of São Paulo and 11% in Rio, has been running at around 18-19%, yet capacity is a problem in Brazil whenever a major blockbuster, like “Avengers” is released.There is no question that Brazil is under screened with just one screen for every 62,293 people, compared with 8,123 in the US or 15,253 for the UK.
The expansion of screens in Brazil, now back to the levels of the 1970s, also slowed in 2018 and 2019 and this has been put down to the economic climate in Brazil that saw a slowing in the expansion of shopping centres where new screens would be located. Shopping Centre screens are also the most successful in Brazil in terms of revenues and tickets sales. Having said that, 174 screen did open in 2019 (44 closed), taking the total of screens past the 3,500 mark. Since 2017 it is estimated that 434 new screens have come online, with 350 of those in the interior of the country and just 84 in the main cities.
In 2019 six cinema complexes in Brazil sold more than one million tickets in the year, those being UCI NYCC (Rio de Janeiro); Cinemark Guarulhos (São Paulo); UCI Kinoplex Norte Shopping (Rio de Janeiro); Kinoplex Dom Pedro (Campinas); Cinemark Aricanduva (São Paulo); and UCI Kinoplex Shopping Iguatemi (Fortaleza). Rio de Janeiro remains the state with the highest market share for domestic Brazilian releases.
Top 20 grossing films of the year in Brazil in 2019
- Avengers: Endgame (US$85.7 million from tickets sales of 19.2 million)
- The Lion King (US$69.5m / 15.8m)
- Captain Marvel (US$38.1m / 8.8m)
- Joker (US$38.1m / 9.4m)
- Toy Story 4 (US$32.7m / 7.8m)
- Spider Man: Far From Home (US$28.3 / 6.4m)
- Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (US$22.3m/ 5.6m)
- Aladdin (US$19.9m / 4.7m)
- Minha Vida em Marte (US$17.5m / 4.3m) *
- Ralph Breaks the Internet (US$17.3m / 4.3m)
- How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (US$14.4m / 3.8m)
- Nada a Perder 2(Nothing To Lose 2 – US$13.7m / 5.2m) *
- Aquaman (US$12.4m 2.9m)
- Shazam! (US$12m / 2.9m)
- Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (US$10.2 / 2.7m)
- Minha Mãe É Uma Peça 3 (My Mom is a Character 2 – US$7.6m / 2.6m) *
- Dumbo (US$7.6m / 1.8m)
- Turma da Monica: Laços (Monica’s Gang – US$7.5m / 2m) *
- De Pernas Pro Ar 3 (Head Over Heels 3 – US$7m / 1.8m) *
- The Secret Life of Pets (US$7m / 1.9m)
* Domestic Brazilian Release
Top 20 grossing films of the year in Brazil in 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War (US$66.7million from tickets sales of 14.5 million)
- Incredibles 2 (US$37.5m / 9.8m)
- Black Panther (US$35.8m / 7.4m)
- Nada a Perder (Nothing To Lose – US$33m / 12.2m) *
- Aquaman ($23.2m / 5.6m)
- Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (US$21.8m / 4.8m)
- Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (US$20.8m / 5.2m)
- The Nun (US$20m / 5.3m)
- Fifty Shades Freed (US$19.7m / 4.3m)
- Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (US$19.5m / 5.4m)
- Venom (US$19m / 4.6m)
- Deadpool 2 (US$18.8m / 4.6m)
- Ferdinand (US$14.4m / 3.4m)
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (US$14.2m / 3.5m)
- Bohemian Rhapsody (US$13.3m / 2.9m)
- Ant Man and the Wasp (US$13m / 3.2m)
- Mission Impossible – Fallout (US$11.8m / 2.5m)
- Os Farofeiros (The Beachnickers – US$9.8m / 2.6 m) *
- Coco (US$9.4m / 2.6m)
- Fala Serio Mãe ( US$9m / 2.4m) *
* Domestic Brazilian Release
Top 20 grossing films of the year in Brazil in 2017
- Fast & Furious 8: The Fate of the Furious ( US$41.8m from tickets sales of 8.5 million)
- Beauty and the Beast (US$41.5m / 8.3m);
- Despicable Me 3 (US$35.9m / 8.89m, the highest ticket sales of the year);
- Justice League (US$35.9m / 8.4m);
- Wonder Woman (US$ 33m / 7m);
- Spider-Man: Homecoming ($32m /6.7m);
- Thor: Ragnarok (US$30.4m / 6.4m)
- Logan (US$29.2m / 6.4m);
- Minha Mãe É Uma Peça 2 (My Mom is a Character 2 – US$27.9m / 6.5m) *
- The Shack (US$23.6m / 5.1m)
- Moana (US$22.9m / 5.1m)
- Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (US$21m / 4.2m)
- Fifty Shades Darker (US$20.3m / 4.6m)
- It (US$19.9m / 4.4m)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (US$16.7m / 3.6m)
- Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (US$16.1m / 3.1m)
- Wonder (US$16.1 / 4.1)
- The Boss Baby (US$13.9m / 3.3m)
- War of the Planet of the Apes (US$13.4m / 2.7m)
- The Mummy (US$13.3m / 3m)
* Domestic Brazilian Release