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BOX OFFICE Belgium

2007 records overall decline though some surprises

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In Belgium, the year 2007 saw a significant decline in admissions. With audience figures of 22.3m, the statistics reveal a 6.7% decrease compared to 2006 (23.9m admissions). However, figures have remained more or less stable since 1996, fluctuating between 21m and 25.4m admissions, with the current record established in 1998 due to the success of Titanic.

This year’s decline in admissions can be explained, here as everywhere else, by widespread economic difficulties, which mean that a cinema ticket (€8 at full price) is a real investment for many people, and this climate has a negative effect on the industry. There has also been a lack of strong titles this year (see news) and not one film has exceeded the 1m admissions threshold.

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In 2006, certain titles boosted the figures (Friends Forever [+see also:
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, Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest and Ice Age: The Meltdown), but this year film sequels have not performed as well as their predecessors. Only the third Pirates of the Caribbean (987,664 admissions) claims 18th position in the top 25 Belgian box office hits since 1996.

Film sequels nonetheless dominate the top 25 Belgian box-office hits for 2007: Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End, is followed by the European/UK co-production Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix [+see also:
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(978,889 admissions), and Shrek 3 (844,379 admissions), which occupy pole positions in the box office rankings, along with Ratatouille in fourth position (958,349 admissions) and The Simpsons Movie in fifth (580,350 admissions).

Spiderman 3 (sixth place), Live Free or Die Hard (10th), Ocean's Thirteen (11th) and The Bourne Ultimatum (13th) claim the top positions, with only two European productions making an appearance: Mr. Bean’s Holiday [+see also:
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which ranks in 9th position (359,614 admissions) and Taxi 4 in 16th (281,202 admissions).

Two other UK/US co-productions, The Golden Compass ( 313,343 admissions – 12th position) and Stardust (191,484 admissions – 25th position) add a positive note to the otherwise disheartening results for European cinema.

Domestic title Ben X [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nic Balthazar
interview: Peter Bouckaert
film profile
]
by Nic Balthazar takes 17th position in the 2007 rankings, with 262,324 admissions.

It was a record year for Flemish cinema (see news). Dominique Derrudere’s Firmin [+see also:
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ranks in 21st place (219,721 admissions) and Jan Verheyen’s Vermist [+see also:
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in 23rd (201,635 admissions).

The success enjoyed by Flemish films helps to curb the decline in admissions (compared to 2006) in the Flemish region (-4.47%), whereas this decrease is greater in French-speaking Belgium (-6.64%) and the Brussels-Capital region (-9.78%).

(Translated from French)

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