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BOX OFFICE Romania

First quarter of 2012 brings 13.8% increase on 2011

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- Domestic releases are still among weakest earners of year

First quarter of 2012 brings 13.8% increase on 2011

More cinemas and more films released locally are making a change to the Romanian box office landscape - compared with 2011, almost 14% more admissions in the first quarter of 2012. The total number of admissions in the first 13 weeks of the year (January 2nd - April 1st) amounts to 1,923,136, while the number for the sameperiod of time of the previous year was only 1,679,991, according to data released by the local distributors.

The increase is smaller in terms of actual box office, as the Romanian leu is weakening against the euro. Although more 3D releases and bigger ticket prices make the totalreturns of 2012 14.35% bigger than those for 2011, converted to euro the increase is of only 12.4%.

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The box office king of 2012 is a singing (or dancing) penguin: Happy Feet Two, released on January 6, had a strong first weekend with approximately 30,000 admissions and, probably thanks to very good dubbing that used the voices of famous Romanian singers and actors, is now the most successful release of the year, with 130,000 admissions, followed by Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (111,591 admissions) and John Carter (88,267 admissions).

As for domestic releases, things are notas good. The champion so far is the moderately popular (and generally panned by critics) Romania's Last Corrupt Man (pictured), Sergiu Nicolaescu's sequel to Poker, with 13,004 admissions. Lucian Georgescu's The Phantom Father had 5,929 admissions, while To Hell with the Transition, a project supported by the National Film Center and directed by Cristina Nichitus, was the worst-received release of 2012, with only 840 admissions.

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