Lithuanian films break all the records at the local box office in 2018
by Vassilis Economou
- Four local productions drew in close to 645,000 viewers in the best year for Lithuanian cinema for the past 28 years
Lithuanian films had an impressive run at the country’s box office in 2018, with two local productions, Ashes in the Snow and Class Reunion: The Boys Are Back!, emerging as the most-watched movies of the year. According to the report released by the Lithuanian Film Centre, Lithuanian productions secured a market share of 28%, a significant increase compared to the 22% achieved during the record-breaking year of 2017, thus making 2018 by far the best year for national cinema since the restoration of the country’s independence in 1990. In total, 351 films were screened in Lithuanian movie theatres, 12% of them European productions. They attracted 4.26 million viewers, with takings growing by more than €2 million in 2018.
Four Lithuanian productions are in the top ten of the admissions chart, having enticed close to 645,000 viewers. The most popular film was the historical war drama Ashes in the Snow by first-time director Marius Markevičius, which was only released in mid-October but was seen by almost 241,000 viewers, making it the most popular film of the year; it grossed almost €1.3 million. Second place in the 2018 Lithuanian box-office chart was claimed by Class Reunion: The Boys Are Back!, the sequel to the bestselling comedy and most profitable Lithuanian film Between us, boys [+see also:
film profile], directed by Kęstutis Gudavičius, which brought in just under 183,000 admissions after its release at the beginning of last year and grossed just over €1 million.
Two more Lithuanian titles drew in more than 100,000 viewers and made it into the top ten of the Lithuanian box office: Lithuanian Swingers, the latest comedy by Tadas Vidmantas, came in in sixth place, with 112,000 tickets, followed by another local comedy, Women Lie Better: Robert by Andrius Ziurauskas, with just under 108,000 admissions.
A new record was set by The Ancient Woods [+see also:
film profile], the poetic nature documentary directed by Mindaugas Survila, which became the most-viewed independent documentary feature in Lithuania. After premiering at IDFA in 2017, the Lithuanian-Estonian-German co-production, which was co-financed by the Lithuanian Film Centre, was released in March in its homeland and attracted more than 62,000 paying viewers, making it one of the ten most successful local movies of the year. It is important to note that the documentary was also adapted for blind audiences.
Overall, there was an increase in the number of national film premieres in Lithuania. According to the statistics, 21 local movies premiered last year, almost double the figure from 2017 (11). Also, local productivity has enjoyed a clear increase, as last year a total of 54 new films were produced, 28 of them features, while in 2017, the numbers were 41 and 15, respectively. Most of these productions received support from the Lithuanian Film Centre.
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