Lebanon Businessnews News

Increase in movie goers
Local films lead the box office
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Movie ticket sales grew by nearly eight percent (7.87) during 2013, compared to 2012, as the number of tickets reached 3.4 million.

Gino Haddad, CFO and Business Development Director at Empire said that this slight growth does not reflect the increase in the number of theatres and Cineplexes that opened during 2013. “The opening of Vox cinemas was expected to increase the market of movie goers, but it did not actually.” The number of viewers had been fluctuating for years. It registered the same number (3.4 million) in 1998.

According to Haddad, last year’s growth reveals the fact that the current players are eroding each other’s market shares, instead of attracting new moviegoers. “We will feel the same impact next year, if Cinema City in the Beirut Souks does not manage to grow the market by 15 percent.” The absence of active tourism has participated in making the industry less vibrant.

Grand Cinemas was still leading the local market, in 2013, with the largest share of 41 percent. However, the chain witnessed a slight drop of 1.36 percent compared to 2012.

Isaac Fahed, Marketing Manager of the chain, said that this drop was due to the long-term market difficulties. “In similar market conditions, the customers tend to consume less entertainment in favor of day-to-day needs. However, the Grand Cinemas’ service and quality of movies still make the preferred chain by locals.”

Empire came in second and kept 30 percent of the market share. But the number of its visitors dropped by 23 percent, in 2013.

“The figures do not reflect the exact reality,” Haddad said because the Empire Sodeco theatre, which used to have 780 seats, now has 174 VIP seats. This means, that instead of 150,000 entries, the Cineplex has made 30,000-40,000 entries. “It is true that the number of movie goers in that theatre dropped, but their returns were four times greater, since the VIP tickets are much more expensive.”

The third place was grabbed by a new entry, Vox Cinemas, with 12 percent of the market share. The remaining 17 percent were shared between Cinemall Dbayyeh and Circuit Planet.

The number of movies shown during 2013, totaling 220, did not grow compared to 2012.

As for the Box Office, the first place movie was taken by local production ‘Habbet Loulou’, by Director Layal Rajha. The movie grabbed 126,362 entries. It was followed by Fast & Furious 6, with 103,546 entries. Other local productions, ‘Helwe Ktir w Kezzebe’, and ‘Bebe’, came in the third and fourth place. “This big comeback of local movies is motivation for us to keep on supporting the local industry,” said Haddad.

Reported by Rana Freifer
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Date Posted: Jan 17, 2014