Country Focus: Poland
Audience figures defy recession
by Dorota Hartwich
21/04/2009 - Despite the global economic crisis, Polish theatres have nothing to complain about. The first quarter of 2009 closed with a highly encouraging 12m admissions, representing a 12% increase compared to the same period in 2008.
Almost every weekend in the first quarter of 2009, audience figures exceeded 400,000. At times, these results were greatly surpassed and even doubled, as during the first weekend of the year (843,523 admissions with the releases of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and Juliusz Machulski’s How Much Does the Trojan Horse Weigh?) or the tenth weekend of 2009 (812,845 viewers drawn to Polish productions Love and Dance [trailer] by Bruce Parramore and Popiełuszko [trailer] by Rafał Wieczyński).
This upward trend is significant in comparison with audience figures for the weekends in the first quarter of previous years: during the first 13 weekends of 2009, 6.67m admissions were garnered, compared to 6.42m in 2008 and 5.93m in 2007.
Although this first quarter’s best-performing film is Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2.2m viewers, launched on 130 screens), the top 10 is dominated by domestic productions, with five Polish features. First in line is the romantic film Love and Dance, which amassed 1.9m admissions (released on 152 screens), followed by Popiełuszko (1.18m - 181 screens).
Launched on 175 screens, Tomasz Konecki and Andrzej Saramonowicz’s new comedy The Perfect Guy for My Girlfriend attracted 689,000 cinemagoers, but failed to match the success of their previous film (Ladies - 2.5m admissions during its first three months on release in 2008).
The two other Polish titles in the first quarter top 10 are Trojan Horse and Bartek Kędzierski’s adult animated film Włatcy Móch. The latter is based on William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies and has so far garnered 368,000 admissions after its release on 94 screens.
These results are doubly heartening for they show that viewers continue to frequent movie theatres despite the fact that average admission prices have risen by over 10%, to €3.90.