- FILM NEW EUROPE, Zane Balčus, 18/02/21
RIGA: Latvian box office results show a nearly 70% decrease in 2020 in comparison to 2019. Due to the pandemic, the cinemas were closed in mid-March, allowed to re-open in mid-May with restricted capacity, and closed again at the beginning of November.
The attendance reached less than one-third of the 2019 total, nearly 900,000, out of which some 180,000 were admissions to domestic productions. National films managed to retain a market share just in the range of 20%, and 41 national films were distributed in total. Three domestic productions reached the top 10 list: Viesturs Kairišs’ The Sign Painter / Pilsēta pie upes (2020, Ego Media) was at the top of the list, followed by The Class Reunion / Klases salidojums (2020, Cinevilla Films), and Dzintars Dreibergs’ Blizzard of Souls / Dvēseļu putenis (2019, Kultfilma), which had been the most watched film in Latvia in 2019. was in the 10th position.
The share of European films in distribution surpassed the number from 2019 – European films were slightly over 38% of all films in distribution.
The distributor Forum Cinemas left the market in May 2020, and the multiplexes Multikino in Riga and Silver Screen in Daugavpils didn’t reopen after the closure.
The viewing on streaming platforms increased in 2020. The platform filmas.lv, administered by the National Film Centre of Latvia, registered nearly 800,000 views (compared to 530,000 in 2019) for single films and specific events (Latvian Film Marathon, Latvian Film in the World, Films in Schools, showcase of films nominated for the National Film Award).
The cinemas in Latvia, as all other culture institutions, still remain shut in 2021.
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