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July 12, 2014
Sunday, December 22, 2013

Movies in 2013: looking back on a good year

Ricardo Darín and Alberto Ammann in Tesis sobre un homicidio.
From stylish thrillers to tender comedies, Argentine films dominated local box office

2013 will probably go down in history as the year when Argentine films — competing against US blockbusters — somehow managed to have a great box office success. In this sense, it must be remembered that filmgoers´ choices are not always predictable, with big-budget productions ending as commercial flops and indie productions getting unexpected exposure and box office intake.

The year’s top five movies in terms of gross income were Juan José Campanella’s 3d animated feature Metegol, Marcos Carnevale’s comedy Corazón de león, the gripping thriller Tesis sobre un homicidio / Thesis on a Homicide ((Hernán Goldfrid), and the Argentine-Spanish coproductions Séptimo / The 7th Floor (Patxi Amezcua), and Wakolda (Lucía Puenzo). Together, these five films attracted nearly 6 million viewers.

In quantitative terms, the number of Argentine productions soared to 120 releases, and more National Film Board-run Espacios INCAA opened for exhibition of local movies. One of the year’s highlights was the INCAA’s purchase of the emblematic Cine Gaumont, the rental contract of which had expired. The movie was spared the fate of so many other movie movie theatres, turned into temples or used for other purposes. Refurbishing of the Gaumont to its glorious architectural past started soon after the purchase. Film buffs sighed with relief, for the Gaumont not only had a rich cinematic past but also continued to house the legendary Cine Club Núcleo, the institution founded by film critic Salvador Sammaritano.

The names that dominated the local scene continued to be Campanella, winner of an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Picture for El secreto de sus ojos / The Secret In Their Eyes (2009), and in mid-year the subject of moviegoers, audiences and film companies for his groundbreaking Metegol. The two other film industry names that grabbed the spotlight were actors Ricardo Darín and Guillermo Francella. Darín had two hits (Tesis sobre un homicidio and Séptimo, while Francella came out on top with Corazón de león.

Until recently, the film season used to start with the arrival of autumn, when people in search of entertainment used to turn en masse to the movies. But 2013 was different: in spite of the growing availability for homeviewing thanks to streaming technology, the big-budget production Tesis sobre un homicidio did not have to wait until autumn to go on wide release.

The film opened across the whole country on January 17, when most Argentines escape the heat of urban conglomerates, flock to beach resorts and stay away from movie houses. Tesis sobre un homicidio proved distributors right as the film had a 1,012,405-strong audience and took in $30,259,751 in box office revenue.

The second quarter of 2013 saw the release of 39 Argentine movies, with Juan Taratutto’s drama La reconstrucción, starring Diego Peretti, drawing 101,099 viewers. It was followed by Puerta de Hierro: el exilio de Perón (a docudrama starring Víctor Laplace) with 35,879 spectators, and the dramédie Pensé que iba a haber fiesta with 29,455. La reconstrucción ended on the 22 spot gross intake mark, according to a survey of the nearly 900 movie theatres in Argentina.

Thirty-seven Argentine films premiered in the third quarter, almost doubling the previous year’s figure with five million viewers and a 300 percent gross intake growth. Metegol came in third with a gross box office intake of US$14,269,221 in Argentina, not including the revenue from its release in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Spain. It was followed by the US blockbusters Despicable Me 2, and Monsters University.

Marcos Carnevale’s Corazón de león attracted an unexpected 1,571,270 viewers, proving that Argentine mainstream filmgoers have a taste for good-quality romantic comedies. Corazón de león had a 72,77% share of the 2013 viewership, followed by Séptimo with 825,750, and Wakolda with 177,718.

The last quarter of the year, still not fully evaluated by the INCAA, saw the release of 40 Argentine movies, most of them without huge box office expectations but aspiring to reach out to alternative audiences. This was the case of Maximiliano González’s La guayaba, and Alejo Moguillanski’s El loro y el cisne.

—Herald staff with Télam

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