EVENTS

2016: Year of Stabilization in the Financing of Cinematography and Czecg Movies Hit Record at Box Office

Following six years of significant growth, the Audiovisual Producers’ Association (APA) member turnover is showing signs of stabilization – compared to 2015, the total turnover of Czech production companies that are APA members remains approximately at the same level as last year, dropping by four percentage points.  A drop in commercial production approximately by CZK 180 million and foreign productions by CZK 236 million was unable to compensate the increased turnover in Czech film television productions, whose value climbed to its highest since 2002 when APA started to collect and analyze its members’ turnover data. Last year has been, on many levels, successful for Czech producers and moderate stagnation is natural following six years of constant growth.

Yet again, the indisputable workhorses in the audiovisual market are international productions and commercials, primarily also international. Last year, independent producers also flourished in the realm of Czech film and television production.

 

mil CZK

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Czech

390

243

386

487

795

613

880

800

577

621

739

795

646

852

921

Foreign

4 545

5 024

1 542

1 961

1 371

2 133

705

744

943

1 036

1 564

2 840

3 354

3 704

3 575

Commercials

2 237

2 371

2 107

2 048

1 804

2 132

1 937

1 489

2 060

2 162

1 772

1 392

1 960

2 203

2 027

Total

7 172

7 638

4 035

4 496

3 970

4 878

3 522

3 033

3 580

3 819

4 075

5 027

5 960

6 759

6 523

Compared to 2015 the turnover in Czech commercial production decreased from CZK 2,203 million to CZK 2,2027 million, an eight percent decrease. The road bill amendment indisputably had the biggest impact, which increased the waiting period for location permits. In force since 1/1/2016, it dramatically decreased flexibility according to commercial productions, reducing the number of jobs by about a fifth. 

Besides expenses registered through Czech production accounting, international commercials clients spent, on average, another 5 to 10% on travel, housing and food for their crews.

In the area of television and film productions, the trend of continuous growth has ended. Turnover rose above CZK 3,5 billion in comparison to 2015, which was the most successful in the last 12 years, but fell by 4%, despite the Czech National Bank (CNB) pro-export policy; the stabilization of film rebate fund to CZK 800 million in the state budget for cinematography three years in a row; and international crews’ previous positive filming experiences in the Czech Republic.  It seems that current Czech film industry capacity has reached its limits, both in infrastructure and capacity.

Beside so-called eligible costs that undergo a stringent audit and from which an international producer gets 20% back, additional expenses by international productions in the Czech Republic came to 5 to 10% on average.

Last year many big-budget and historical projects were made, led, yet again, by television series production – all three of the most expensive projects filmed last year were television series. Based on Czech Film Commission data, international productions spent a total of 1000 shooting days in the Czech Republic, depending on the type of project, ranging between 6 and 126 days in case of the historical television series Britannia. The highest foreign investment of some CZK 1,1 billion came from filming of the historical series Knightfall, in partnership with APA members Stillking Films and Barrandov Studios. Another CZK 1 billion was spent in the Czech Republic last year in the making of Britannia. The third most expensive project last year was also a television series, Genius, for National Geographic Channel with Stillking Films as its Czech partner. Genius tells the life story of Albert Einstein.

The international project that received the highest paid out commission was the fifth and latest movie in the vampire saga Underworld: Blood Wars, whose eligible costs investment came to CZK 0,86 billion, through Lakeshore International and Stillking. The continuation of the series Legends that was filmed here with Stillking Films and the third season of Crossing Lines (Film United) together accounted for additional eligible costs totaling CZK 0,8 million. More than ten Czech feature films were also eligible for incentives, including the HBO original television series Mamon. Considering the amendment to the audiovisual bill that makes the system of movie commissions more accessible to Czech producers, the balance sheet will probably be even more positive in the coming year.

The most significant change in comparison to last year is the stabilization in the trend of growth in Czech film and television production.  APA-members’ turnover of CZK 852 million in 2015 grew to CZK 921 million, and reached a record number since 2002, when APA started to keep statistics. The biggest credit goes to the State Fund for Cinematography that, following the approval of the new audiovisual bill, has more resources at its disposal to back Czech production. It showed results for the first time in 2015, following the slump in 2014, which was caused by the transition to the new system. We expect that systematic support by the new Fund and, in particular, the increase in its budget that was part of last year’s audiovisual bill amendment will have additional positive impact on Czech film production in coming years.

Another important source of financing for Czech production is Czech Television (CT) where independent producers’ projects increased by 8% last year. The only external (i.e. not original) productions CT broadcasts are commissioned works and co-production projects managed by independent producers. As a result, their share returned to standard, following a slump in 2015.

 

Czech Television external production share comparison (not including sports, newscasts and acquisitions)[1]

 

2013

2014

2015

2016

External production share

39 %

38 %

29 %

37 %

 

Audience Interest in Domestic Film Production Moves Czech Republic to 3. place Within the EU

In 2016, Czech cinemas showed a record 345 premieres, 79 of them domestic: 41 feature drama films (24 in 2015); 20 documentaries (18 in 2015); and 4 animated ones. Thirteen digitally restored films from the National Film Archive were also ‘re-premiered’. In 2016, a total of 15,622 million people visited the cinema in the Czech Republic, the highest turnout since 1993. In comparison to the previous year, there were 2,6 million more visitors, translating to an increase of some 20%. Based on data from the Union of Film Distributors (UFD), last year’s receipts reached a record CZK 2,011 billion (20% more than in 2015).

 

Comparison of Czech cinema attendance and box office takes between 2015 and 2016[2][3]

Year

Show

Audience

Net sales

Average cost of ticket

2015

457 327

12 958 099

1 669 176 581 CZK

128,81 CZK

2016

471 202

15 621 923

2 011 044 198 CZK

128,73 CZK

Following last year’s decrease in interest in domestic productions when the biggest Czech box office hit placed 12th, moviegoers have returned to watch Czech movies, in some cases in record numbers.

The following chart contains the list of films that attracted highest audience attendance in recent years – in the last 11 years a total of 9 films with the highest attendance were Czech.

 

Movies with highest audience attendance in the Czech Republic from 2006-2016:[4]

Year

Title

Audience number in first year

2016

Anděl Páně 2

914 K

2015

Minions

831 K

2014

Tři bratři

661 K

2013

Babovřesky

652 K

2012

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift

671 K

2011

Muži v naději

852 K

2010

Ženy v pokušení

1 232 K

2009

Líbáš jako bůh

905 K

2008

Bathory

912 K

2007

Vratné lahve

1 254 K

2006

Účastníci zájezdu

788 K

 

Ten movies with highest audience attendance in Czech and Moravian cinemas in 2016:[5]

No.

Title

Production

Show

Audience

Sales

1

Anděl Páně 2

CZ

8 801

913 767

110 385 631

2

The Secret Life of Pets

US

11 314

510 953

67 484 804

3

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

UK

10 177

457 891

66 255 217

4

Lída Baarová

CZ

7 484

414 732

53 140 546

5

Bridget Jones’s Baby

UK

7 284

394 810

56 032 880

6

Finding Dory

US

10 091

387 483

51 818 410

7

Teorie tygra

CZ

8 444

385 974

44 569 162

8

Bezva ženská na krku

CZ

6 874

372 581

50 161 809

9

Ice Age: Collision Course

US

9 490

366 548

49 436 367

10

Deadpool

US

6 619

350 751

48 537 383

 

In total, the cinema attracted 4,6 million moviegoers in 2016, which is double the number of the previous year. In addition to the highest audience-acclaimed movie Anděl Páňe 2 (914, 000 viewers), movies like The Devil’s Mistress (Lída Baarova), Theory of Tiger (Teorie tygra), Fab Woman Around my Neck (Bezva ženská na krku) and others also drew audiences. Following years that saw a drop in audience attendance, the number of moviegoers drawn to domestic productions grew dramatically to a record 29,5%, which places the Czech Republic third among all members of the European Union.

 


[1] Source: Czech Television

[2] Source: Union of Film Distributors

[4] Source: Union of Film Distributors

[5] Source: Union of Film Distributors

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