Poland’s Girls to Buy enjoys the best opening weekend for a local film in 2021
by Ola Salwa
- The erotic thriller with hints of social drama was beaten only by the new Bond flick, No Time To Die
They’re pretty, they travel the world in order to be the guests of rich Arabian sheiks, they enjoy wild parties with the most expensive champagne, and they powder their nose with something other than just beauty products. They provide company, sometimes overnight, while being subjected to all kinds of risks that selling a person’s body may entail. They’re the titular Girls to Buy, the story of which is based on facts that were revealed to the public a few years ago and caused quite a stir, also because some female celebrities were reportedly part of this “trade”.
The film, directed by Maria Sadowska, was shot in Poland, France and the UAE, with a budget that has been kept under wraps, although it’s anything but shoestring. Sadowska previously helmed the box-office hit The Art of Loving [+see also:
film profile], about a Polish pioneer in sex studies, which attracted an audience of over 1.8 million. Her new endeavour is something of a cautionary tale dipped in glitter and glamour. The story revolves around the ambitious and street-smart Emi (the alluring Paulina Gałązka), who quickly becomes successful in the sex business, but not as a “girl to buy” – rather, as their boss and manager. The film is an entertaining, sensual thriller, and this combination enabled Girls to Buy to have the best opening for a local film in 2021, racking up 278,000 admissions.
It’s also the second-best result overall, with only the most recent James Bond action flick, No Time to Die [+see also:
film profile], selling more tickets during the first weekend of its Polish release: 440,000 (and over 1 million so far). Incidentally, 007’s initial performance was almost as impressive as the total number of admissions taken for the most popular Polish film of 2021 so far – Furioza by Cyprian T Olencki, which sold just over 492,000 tickets. The first runner-up here recently won an award at Tallinn Black Nights, for Best Director and Best Screenplay (see the news): The Wedding Day [+see also:
interview: Wojciech Smarzowski
film profile], which racked up 485,500 admissions.
Girls to Buy’s (which boasts a cast of international male actors) great opening weekend came as something of a surprise, given that the audience for local films in Poland kept dropping during the pandemic. Even the new instalment in Polish hit-maker Patryk Vega’s Pitbull [+see also:
film profile] franchise, Pitbull – Exodus, has so far sold only 392,600 tickets since its theatrical release, while his usual numbers tend to hover at well over 1 million admissions.
Girls to Buy is selling well, so to speak, but the film’s producers – Emil Stępień and Dorota Rabczewska (who is also a popular Polish singer using the stage name “Doda”) – are facing legal trouble. Stępień was arrested in late November and is being interrogated by a prosecutor. According to the Polish rmf24.pl news portal, the investigation is related to Stępień’s business activities and “taking money from the investors for different film productions”. Rabczewska was also interrogated in this case, and is suspected of aiding and abetting.
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