May 2023: A Record-Breaking Month for Argentine Theaters
Fast and Furious X, one of the most anticipated films of the year, has become the most-watched film in the most successful May of the last quarter of a century in Argentine theaters. With theaters becoming increasingly crowded, the cinema industry aims to reach further and deepen its convening power.
The sustained recovery of public attendance at theaters, thanks to recent releases like Fast and Furious X, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3, and The Little Mermaid, has allowed theaters to reach a historic mark, the first to be recorded after the pandemic. According to data collected by the Ultracine consultancy, the most successful May for the local market since 1997 has just ended, with a total of 4,896,009 tickets sold on the almost 900 available and active screens in Argentina.
This figure has allowed projections for the rest of the year, with equally auspicious numbers. Between January and May of this year, there has been a 57% increase in ticket sales compared to the same period last year.
As always, high-impact movies attract the largest number of people to theaters. The success of recent releases has had a lot to do with the considerable increase in the box office. It is the second time in a row that the million tickets sold have been exceeded in the local market during a weekend.
However, the success of high-impact blockbuster films also means the Argentine film billboard has become dominated by Hollywood productions, and diversity has suffered. The top five most viewed titles in theaters during the record-breaking month of May were Fast and Furious X, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3, Super Mario Bros. The Movie, The Little Mermaid, and Evil Dead: Awakening.
Despite this trend, May shows some nuance and suggests that the public is open to other proposals, particularly in terms of popular Argentine cinema. Among the ten most viewed films in May 2023, La extorción, by Martino Zaidelis, and Misanthrope, the film that Argentine director Damián Szifron filmed in English and in the United States, made the cut.
Concentration and Limited Space
However, as a consequence of the scenario of enormous concentration, only about 12 or 14 films are available on the billboard of the main multi-screen chains. The vast majority of screens and schedules are hogged by the highest-grossing titles at the expense of everything else. Consequently, very little space is available for much smaller-scale releases.
A good call is only expected among the novelties for the animated tank of Marvel-Sony Spider-Man: through the Spider-Verse. Fans will mainly want to see it during the first weekend on the billboard. The other nine most popular films released this year in Argentine theaters also come from Hollywood with a very high profile.
New releases from Hollywood promise to dominate almost all available screens and seats in the coming weeks. This will happen in a week with the new Transformers movie, in 15 days with The Flash and Elemental, the new feature film from Pixar-Disney, and three weeks later with Indiana Jones and the Call of Fate.
June promises more favorable box office numbers for cinemas, more crowded theaters, more movements of the public, and fewer premieres.