The audience’s interest in the Latvian films has grown rapidly

The Latvian film distributors have summarized the statistics on the local box office for the first three months of the year. The results are impressive! Out of top five box-office hits three are films made by Latvian directors, thus quadrupling the audience’s focus to the national cinema in comparison to the average indexes in the previous years.

“This is a noteworthy development in the history of theatrical exhibition in Latvia – in the first quarter of this year the following three domestic films have reached top admissions: The Pagan King, The Criminal Excellence Fund, and Paradise’89. Overall, if to add also the documentary To Be Continued produced in the framework of the Latvian Films for Latvia’s Centennial programme, the attendance of the domestic films currently constitutes 28% of the market, says Ilze Roķe, Head of Film Distribution at Forum Cinemas.

During the period from 1 January 2018, the greatest part the theatrical audience has attended the feature directed by Aigars Grauba and produced by Andrejs Ēķis, The Pagan King (premiered on 17 January; 79,216 viewers), followed by The Criminal Excellence Fund by Oskars Rupenheits (premiered on 2 February, 66,341 viewers) as the second and Paradise 89 by Madara Dišlere, a feature from the Latvian Films for Latvia’s Centennial programme (premiered no 22 February, 49,444 viewers), as the fourth. Top 3 position among the most attended features is taken by Universal Pictures’ romantic drama, Fifty Shades Freed (in cinemas from 7 February; 56, 997 viewers) whereas Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (in cinemas from 22 December 2017; 43,000 viewers) is the fifth.

In every country the so-called ‘market share’ of the national cinema is an important statistic indicator of the theatrical attendance, showing the percentage of audience that has viewed the domestic films. During the recent five years this indicator has not reached beyond 7.84% as per 2017, being the highest, when the first films from the Centennial programme started rousing the spectators’ interest in the national cinema. Thus, the current 28% show a significant rise and one may predict that the following Centennial films will not let the audience lose interest in the Latvian cinema.

Noteworthy, already the statistics from 2017 showed a Latvian film having reached Top 2 admissions for the first time during the few recent years with Grandpa More Dangerous Than Computer directed by Varis Brasla, the first film from the National Film Centre’s programme, Latvian Films for Latvia’s Centennial.

In the coming months several more Latvian films will be released theatrically, and their attendance still can beat new records. Among the upcoming premieres of Latvian Films for Latvia’s Centennial are Bille, a feature directed by Ināra Kolmane (20 April), Mērija’s Journey, a feature documentary by Kristīne Želve (2 May), and Baltic Tribes / Last Pagans of Europe by The Ābele Brothers (16 May). Among some more films premiered this April are D is for Division, a documentary by Dāvis Sīmanis, Nora, a documentary by Linda Olte, and Wonderful Losers: A Different World, a co-production by VFS Films. Several more premieres are planned during the annual Latvian Film Marathon held on 4 May.

19.04.2018

Kristīne Matīsa
Senior Information Officer on the Latvian film industry,
National Film Centre of Latvia
(kristine.matisa@nkc.gov.lv, 26129954, 67358879)